Scott Kelly, the American NASA astronaut known for spending the most time in space, has announced that he is getting ready to retire.
Scott Kelly, 52, is part of a twin-related space study conducted by NASA.
The study being conducted is attempting to allow understanding of how space changes a person physiologically. While Scott was in space, his twin brother, Mark Kelly, was on Earth acting as the control group.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 12, 2016
“In his year aboard the space station, [Scott Kelly] took part in experiments that will have far-reaching effects, helping us pave the way to putting humans on Mars and benefiting life on Earth,” director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Brian Kelly, said in a statement to the Washington Post.
Mark Kelly is a former astronaut for NASA, but still works closely with the organization.
Scott Kelly returned to Earth on March 1 after spending 340 days on the International Space Station with Russian astronaut, Mikhail Kornienko. Upon return, he was awarded the record for the longest space mission involving an American astronaut.
While he was on the space station, Kelly kept in touch with Earth through various social media avenues. His long-time girlfriend, Amiko Kauderer, a NASA public affairs officer, helped Kelly maintain the accounts.
“This was something we could share together and it made the experience more rewarding, rather than just our conversations on a daily basis,” Scott told CNN once he was back on the planet.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) February 19, 2016
Through his social media sites, Scott Kelly became a celebrity hero to the scientifically minded. His posts included pictures from space and first-hand information of what it was like to be hanging with the stars. He currently has over a million followers on each of his sites.
On March 11, 2016, Scott Kelly announced that he would be retiring from going out into space, effective April 1.
Kelly posted his intent to retire on Facebook in a note titled, “A thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Scott explained that he remains committed to NASA and the important studies that might allow humans to surpass current records involving space travel. Kelly made it clear that, although he would be retiring from space travel, he was going to continue to work with NASA to ensure they collect whatever data his year in space might have created.
“Following my retirement, I will continue to participate in the ongoing research related to NASA’s one-year mission for as long as is necessary. I will provide periodic medical samples and support other testing in much the same way that my twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, has made himself available for the Twins Study throughout this past mission.”
Scott Kelly went on to write that he believes NASA will be able to use the data collected to be able to send humans on longer and longer missions into space.
“I am humbled and excited by new opportunities for me to support and share the amazing work NASA is doing to help us travel farther into the solar system and work with the next generation of science and technology leaders. I look forward to continuing my 30 years of public service in a new role. To continue toward any journey, we must always challenge ourselves to take the next step.”
Mars is the next conquest for NASA, according to Scott.
“Going to Mars is doable,” Scott Kelly said at a NASA news conference, according to CNN. He attended that conference with his twin brother, Mark Kelly, before he announced his retirement.
“We’re close enough that if we make the choice, I think we can do it.”
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) February 20, 2016
[Photo by NASA via Getty Images]