Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Man Whose Spaceship Knew Which Way To Go...

Today, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly's excellent space adventure reaches its end. For close to one year, Kelly has called the International Space Station home.  Today, accompanied by his Russian colleague, Cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko, Kelly shall feel the Earth move under his feet for the first time in a very, very long time. 

If you have a Twitter account, as I do, and you are not presently a follower of Scott Kelly (@Station CDRKelly) then you might very well want to start.  Over the course of the past year, he has taken some truly spectacular photographs of what life down here looks like from up there.  His Twitter feed contains a significant number of utterly fantastic photos.  

NASA has been using Scott Kelly and his identical twin brother Mark (himself a retired astronaut) to conduct an experiment regarding the effect of prolonged time in space on the human body.  Apparently, manned missions to Mars are not merely the thing of Oscar-nominated motion pictures.  NASA wants to know as much as it can about what its astronauts are going to be up against long before it straps any of them into position and blasts them off towards Mars.  Data gathered from the Brothers Kelly shall help them get a better understanding of what it is their astronauts shall confront on an extended space mission.  

I do not pretend to know most of what it is NASA hopes to learn from its "Dos Kellys" experiment. My lack of understanding does nothing however to dampen my enthusiasm for finding out just how the questions NASA has posed and/or intends to pose shall be answered.  


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