Astronaut Scott Kelly is returning from his longest stay in space - and we look back at #YearInSpace.
By
Signe Dean

2 Mar 2016 - 1:32 PM  UPDATED 2 Mar 2016 - 4:20 PM

Space exploration has been going from strength to strength in the recent years - European Space Agency successfully touched down on a comet, NASA got high resolution pictures of Pluto from the New Horizons mission, mapped Mercury with the MESSENGER probe, and continues to make discoveries on Mars thanks to the Curiosity rover.

The latest addition to this list of space successes is a record-setting mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

Two astronauts - Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos - have spent 340 consecutive days in space in a mission dedicated to studying the health effects of long term spaceflight. NASA considers this to be a stepping stone in our efforts to send future crewed missions to Mars and beyond.

The One-Year Mission, which is twice as long as normal US space missions, started in March 2015 and is due to complete in just a few hours, when Kornienko and Kelly touch down in Kazakhstan (you can watch the broadcast at the bottom of this article).

Over the next weeks and months scientists plan to monitor the two so they can learn more about the effects a long-term stay in space could extol on the human body. Kelly has a twin brother Mark - also an astronaut - and comparisons between the two could make this research even more insightful.

Once landed, Kelly will have spent the longest time in space amongst US astronauts, although the record for most consecutive days in space is still held by Valeri Polyakov, who spent 438 days aboard the Mir space station back in 1994.

During his year in space, Scott Kelly, who was also Station Commander while on this mission, has been sharing his experiences with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, including Instagram.

Artistic captures of the surface of Earth, results of the various research projects occurring aboard the ISS, pictures of gorgeous space sunsets - no doubt Kelly's content under the #YearInSpace hashtag has fuelled the dreams of many little future spacefarers. Below we share a few of the best moments.

 

1. Over 340 days and 5440 orbits, the astronauts witnessed 10,944 sunrises and sunsets.

 

 

2. Kelly took selfies when going on spacewalks to do routine repairs.

 

 

3. Kelly received an ape suit in a care package from his brother

4. Scientifically, the mission brought the first ever space-grown food - lettuce

5. We also got the first space-grown flower

6. The astronauts took a quick peek at SuperBowl

7. And watched The Martian - while actively researching how we can get there

They also got screenings of Gravity and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

 

8. The ISS flew through an impressive aurora

 

 

9. Kelly captured hurricanes from space

 

10. And participated in UN's Why Space Matters campaign

 

 

11. And brought us countless artistic photographs of Earth

 

 

You can watch the footage of their return live on NASA TV below.

SBS News
US, Russian astronauts return to Earth after year in space
A Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts who spent the last year on the International Space Station has landed in Kazakhstan.