Astronaut Scott Kelly has just come back to Earth after spending almost a year in space! He was living on the ISS (International Space Station) and was on a mission from NASA to study how living in space for a long time will affect the body. NASA hopes his mission will prepare us for travelling to Mars!
Scott Kelly has been on other space missions before, but this was the longest one ever. One reason he was chosen for the year-long mission is because he is a twin. His twin, Mark Kelly, is an astronaut, too. But this time, Mark stayed home on Earth while Scott was in space. Every day Scott Kelly was in space, he did tests on himself, such as checking his heart, eyesight and height. These tests were used to understand how life in zero-gravity was affecting hm. His twin, Mark, did the same tests on Earth, and they compared the results.
One result of Scott Kelly spending a year in space was that he came back almost two inches taller! Since Scott Kelly was living in zero-gravity for almost a year, that means he also did not have any gravity pulling on his body (this is why astronauts float in the Space Station). Without gravity pulling at him, the spaces between his bones pulled apart a little, and made him two inches taller. Once he got back down to Earth, though, he shrank back to his original height. Kelly said at a press conference, “Gravity pushes you back down to size.”
When Scott Kelly got back to Earth, one of the first things he did was jump in a pool of water, with all his clothes on! There is no running water on the International Space Station, and so Kelly did not have a shower for 340 days! So having the feeling of water all around him was a great way to welcome himself back home. He also enjoyed some apple pie, eating in a restaurant, fresh wildflowers, and walking in the rain.
Thanks Scott Kelly, for getting us closer to Mars!