Scott Kelly had one hell of a year in Space but now it’s time to come home. The NASA astronaut, along with cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, will say goodbye to the International Space Station later today in the hopes of returning to Earth after 340 days aboard the orbiting craft. And, lucky for us, NASA is going to live-stream the whole shebang.
As we said earlier, Kelly’s extended stay aboard the ISS isn’t the longest consecutive days spent in space; that record goes to cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent a whopping 438 days aboard the Mir space station in the mid-90s. However, Kelly still racked up some impressive stats, some of which are listed below.
- Kelly witnessed approximately 10,944 sunrises and sunsets. Since the ISS orbits the Earth at a speed of more than 17,000 miles per hours (once every 90 minutes), Kelly saw the sun go up and down a lot. A LOT. While aboard the ISS, he orbited the Earth 5,440 times.
- Kelly travelled 143,846,525 nukes during his year-long mission. To give you context, the average distance between the Earth and Mars is about 140 million miles, so Kelly could have potentially travelled there by now.
- Kelly drank 193 gallons of recycled urine and sweat. I know, gross.
- Kelly ran almost 700 miles on a treadmill while aboard the ISS, keeping him in tip-top shape for his return.
The real goal of this whole mission is to learn more about how long-duration space travel affects the human body. Remember, Scott Kelly has a twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, which will give scientists a really good control subject when conducting tests on how Scott’s body has changed.
If you care to see it all unfold live, NASA will start its coverage around 4:15 p.m. EST and then see Kelly and Kornienko undock from the ISS around 8:05 p.m. EST. NASA estimates the de-orbit process will occur around 10:30 p.m. EST, with a landing scheduled for 11:30 p.m. EST. It’s a long and complicated process, but a momentous occasion for human ingenuity.