US Astronaut Scott Kelly has touched down on Earth after almost a year aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The NASA scientist is comparing the result of the Scott’s test (psychological and physical) with his twin Mark.
The commander Scott Kelly and his crew, composed of Mikhail Kornienko and Russian Sergey Volkov, parachuted down in Kazakhstan at 10.26, local time.
The spaceflight lasted 340-days, twice the length of a normal space trip: in this way the scientists can study the effect of staying in space for a long time on the human body. In addition they can compare the result of the Scott’s test with his identical twin Mark.
Mark Kelly was an astronaut as well, now retired. He has been undergoing tests on Earth while his brother stayed on the ISS. The idea that inspired this twin study is to compare how two people, who are genetically identical, respond to different external conditions after a year.
Living in space can cause muscle atrophy, sleep problems, bone loss… But surprisingly, some of the most pronounced effects are on the mind.
Scott declared that during the trip he felt physically pretty good, but the hardest part was being isolated in the physical sense from people on the ground who were important to him. He felt loss of connection with the real world.
The scientist can analyze the twins’ test to understand deeper the psychological feelings of people who spend a lot of time in space. Despite this Scott Kelly and his crew are still way shy of the record for the longest single space flight, which is 437-days consecutively by the russian Valery Polyakov, in the 1990s.