Astronaut Scott Kelly has achieved quite an impressive feat by becoming the record-holder for the most time spent in outer space than any other American. Kelly recognized his achievement on Friday while he was orbiting hundreds of miles above the Himalayas. Mike Fincke, a two-time space station resident, was the previous record holder at 382 days. The 51-year-old engineer and retired U.S. Navy Captain sent out the following message via Twitter,“records are meant to be broken.”
According to a report from CNN via NASA, Friday marked Kelly’s 383rd day living in space during four missions. Kelly is now more than halfway through a nearly year-long mission aboard the International Space Station, the report states. Spaceflight Insider reported that Kelly will also break another record on October 29 on his 216th consecutive day in space. On that date, he will surpass astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria’s record for the single-longest space flight by an American.
“It’s a big milestone, but I’m not going to start counting days. I think I’m going to wait until March, and then I’m going to allow myself to count how many days I have remaining. I’m counting up for time being,” Kelly said.
Kelly embarked on this mission more than a year ago in the company of Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko to determine the biological, physical and psychological impact that long-term space missions have on humans. On Earth, scientists are also performing parallel studies on Kelly’s identical twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, CNN wrote. Kelly is scheduled to return to Earth on March 2, 2016, for a total of 522 days in space.
NASA released a statement during a press conference on Friday regarding the mission.
“Breaking such a record for time in space is important because every additional day helps us better understand how long-duration spaceflight affects bodies and minds, which is critical to advancing NASA’s journey to Mars,” NASA said.
The crew is also traveling with cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, NASA’s Kjell Lindgren and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut, Kimiya Yui.
Scott Kelly has taken the opportunity during this long mission to share with his Twitter followers his experience in space. Although most us will never travel into outer-space, thanks to Kelly’s amazing photos, we have a pretty good idea of what it looks like.
Scott Kelly still has a long way to go before he catches Russian Gennady Padalka’s world record of 879 days in space, which is two months longer than the previous record set in 2005 by Russian Sergei Krikalev over six missions.
Kelly has also been documenting his journey on a blog entry posted to his Facebook page.
“A year really is a long time…a long time to never be able to go outside, or feel the sun on your face, or to see your family through anything besides a computer screen. But a mission to Mars is even longer, and the work we’re doing right now is a huge leap in reaching the goal of sending humans to walk on the Red planet,” Kelly wrote. “The research we are doing 250 miles above Earth is the reason we’re on this orbiting laboratory. We have over 400 different experiments going on over the course of the year I am here, many of them where I am the experiment. Scientists are observing the changes in my body over a year to learn how to live in space longer, all so we can venture further into space on a journey to Mars or other destinations.”
[Image via Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images News]