After being a NASA astronaut for 20 years, Scott Kelly made his retirement official. One of the space agency’s poster boys, 52-year-old Kelly took his daughter to the Johnson Space Center on his last day as a NASA astronaut for an emotional farewell.
American astronaut Scott Kelly officially started his retirement on April 1. After having completed four separate missions in 1999, 2007, 2010, and 2015, accruing 520 days in space and spending almost an entire year aboard the ISS during his last space mission, Scott Kelly decided to hang up his space boots and spacesuit for good, reported Space. Having secured the American record for most cumulative time in space, Kelly would undoubtedly be considered a hero. He shared that he had found a fresh perspective of Earth and a renewed appreciation for nature after he landed back on the planet and in the days leading up to his retirement.
Scott Kelly’s career as a NASA astronaut has been illustrated with many firsts and several milestones. On his last mission, Kelly blasted off from Earth with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko on March 27, 2015, and returned on March 1, 2016, just a few days shy of completing an entire year in space. During his stint aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Kelly and his colleagues successfully completed one of mankind’s most ambitious space missions and managed to conduct about 400 experiments.
In one of his interviews, Kelly had said, “When we do things that are really hard, we can achieve great things – and that has worked as a great model for me.”
While every astronaut is an invaluable asset to space exploration, Scott Kelly has managed to fast-track several crucial aspects that are critical for all future missions. His contributions have given scientists strong confidence about mankind’s survival in the vast emptiness and depths of space for prolonged periods of time. Along with his colleague Kornienko, who spent an equal number of days aboard the ISS, the duo participated in several studies to test how the human body handles isolation, weightlessness, radiation, and stress of long-term spaceflights, reported Tech Times.
Although Kelly has stepped down, he isn’t going away. In fact, even if he has announced his retirement, he will be actively involved with the space program. Additionally, there many aspects of his mission, experiments, and his prolonged stay in space that Kelly will gradually share with scientists. Over the next months, the ex-astronaut will undergo several tests, which will mostly be centered around analyzing the long-term effects of spending time in zero-gravity.
Interestingly, it was recently learned that zero-gravity may make you taller, because gravity isn’t pulling you down. Scientists were able to make this breakthrough because Scott’s twin brother, Mark Kelly, also participated in parallel studies. Together, the twins allowed scientists to learn if long-term space travel had any impact on genetics. While they had been testing Scott’s body in space, Mark was undergoing a parallel study on Earth.
Moreover, Scott Kelly also made UFO hunters tizzy with a cryptic comment.
“Adjusting to space is easier than adjusting to Earth for me. I don’t think I ever felt completely normal up there. I think coming back to gravity is harder than leaving gravity, so maybe the aliens got it a lot easier than we do.”
On March 31, Scott Kelly hinted at his retirement with the tweet that thanked NASA and shared the YouTube video link for the video titled “Speed of Sound #YearInSpace,” which showed a nostalgic collection of clips from Kelly’s recent one-year stay onboard the ISS.
Enduring multiple challenges, including carefully managing supplies after two cargo ships failed to reach the ISS and some minor ones like mold growing in vegetation, Scott Kelly has made huge progress for mankind and has offered a lot of answers that will help humanity set up permanent camps on other planets.
[Photo by Kirill Kudryavtsev/Getty Images]