Scott Kelly, U.S. space endurance champ, 'could go another year'

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- America's space-endurance champ, Scott Kelly, returns to Earth next week after nearly a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station.

See Full Article

High on his to-do list when he gets back: jumping into his pool and dining at a real table.

Yet he said he could hold out another year in the "harsh environment" of space -- where nothing ever feels normal -- if he had to.

"Yeah, I could go another 100 days. I could go another year if I had to," Kelly assured reporters Thursday in a video news conference from orbit. "It would just depend on what I was doing and if it made sense, although I do look forward to getting home here next week."

Going without running water for a year has made hygiene difficult, Kelly acknowledged: "It's kind of like I've been in the woods camping for a year."

But the hardest part of all, he said, is being separated from his loved ones, a situation that will pose even more of a challenge for astronauts sent to Mars.

Kelly took questions on Day 335 of what already is NASA's longest single spaceflight. By the time Kelly checks out Tuesday and rides a Russian capsule to a landing in Kazakhstan, his mission will have lasted 340 days.

The world record for a single spaceflight is 438 days, set by a Russian cosmonaut in the 1990s. Even that will pale in comparison to a Mars expedition, expected to last two to three years round trip.

Scientists hope to learn much from Kelly's mission to pave the way to Mars in two decades. They will also collect data from his Russian roommate for the year, Mikhail Kornienko.

Kelly, 52, a former space shuttle commander, will undergo a battery of medical and physical tests at the landing site. He will then be hustled home to Houston for more tests and weeks if not months of rehabilitation to recover from the punishing effects of an extended stay in zero gravity, including degraded vision and the loss of bone and muscle.

Awaiting his arrival in Houston will be his two daughters, his girlfriend, who works in public affairs at Johnson Space Center, and his identical twin, former astronaut Mark Kelly.

The brothers have submitted to similar medical tests for more than a year and will keep it up in the months ahead. NASA hopes the research on the genetically identical brothers will illuminate some of the more extreme effects of weightlessness on the body.

The Kellys talked often during the mission, more than they did before the flight, in fact. The 250-mile-high outpost has an Internet phone capable of calling anyone. Mission Control also arranges regular video conferences between astronauts and their families.

"For him, living in space and being so far detached from life on Earth, one of the only real lifelines you have, one of the best ones, is certainly the ability to make a phone call," Mark Kelly said from his home in Tucson, Arizona. He said he and his brother hope to go fishing in Alaska.

Scott Kelly said he was more anxious to return home following his last space station stint five years ago, which lasted 159 days. That was because of the assassination attempt two months earlier on his congresswoman sister-in-law, Gabrielle Giffords, Mark's wife.

This time, Kelly said, he didn't focus on the end of his mission but rather on each upcoming milestone: the arrival of supplies and crews, major experiments, spacewalks, maintenance tasks. Even so, he said, events from last summer or fall seem like forever ago.

He lightened things up recently by donning a gorilla suit -- a gag gift from Mark -- and cavorting through the station while the cameras rolled.

"Next milestone's coming home," Kelly said with a smile.

He ended the news conference with a slow-motion backflip -- undoubtedly one of the pluses of space.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • China's lunar mission dubbed potentially historic by experts

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING - Experts say China's ambition to soft-land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon later this year faces considerable challenges but if successful, would put its space program in the forefront of one of the most important areas of lunar exploration. Source
  • Montreal researchers use willows to decontaminate polluted soil, groundwater

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MONTREAL -- In an east-end Montreal neighbourhood, a polluted piece of former industrial land has become a garden. Willows sway in the breeze, creating a pleasant green space as the plants slowly reverse decades of industrial activity that has left the chemical-soaked soil of the Pointe-aux-Trembles site too contaminated to use. Source
  • Experts concerned about global rise of facial recognition technology

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TORONTO -- Based on recent announcements by the likes of Facebook, Live Nation and a U.K. police force, Canadians may need to get used to the idea of facial recognition technology permeating their everyday lives. Source
  • Jupiter's backward-flying asteroid from another star system

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Just months after the discovery of our first known interstellar visitor, it turns out there's another asteroid from yet another star system residing in our cosmic club in plain view. Scientists reported Monday that this interstellar resident is an asteroid sharing Jupiter's orbit but circling in the opposite direction. Source
  • Extreme altruism: Why do some people help others at great risk to themselves?

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Calvin Stein likes to help people, even if it means putting himself in danger to protect complete strangers. His altruism kicked into high gear on on July 9, 2016, when he ran straight into the path of runaway ponies to pick up a little girl and toss her to safety, only to get trampled himself. Source
  • Developer pushes back construction of Nova Scotia rocket launch site

    Tech & Science CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The start date for the construction of Canada's only commercial spaceport has been pushed back, a developer said following meetings at the proposed rocket launch site near a small fishing community on Nova Scotia's eastern shore. Source
  • China launches relay satellite for far side moon landing

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A Long March-4C rocket carrying a relay satellite, named Queqiao (Magpie Bridge), is launched from southwest China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center, on May 21, 2018. (Cai Yang/Xinhua via AP) Source
  • Australian state government proposes protecting wild horses

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia -- An Australian state government has decided to legally protect rather than kill thousands of wild horses, infuriating scientists who argue the feral species is doing severe environmental damage to the country's iconic Snowy Mountains alpine region. Source
  • Scientists say they've found an alien asteroid near Jupiter

    Tech & Science CBC News
    When an asteroid from outside our solar system was observed zipping through for the first time last year, it caused a lot of excitement. Now, a new study suggests another interstellar asteroid has actually been hiding here all this time. Source
  • Zuckerberg meeting with EU parliament leaders to be webcast

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. Source