This is Scott Kelly. He’s the first American astronaut to complete a 340 day mission in space. (You can watch the events of his return on the “Return to Earth” story on Snapchat!).
Kelly, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko, was sent to space nearly a year ago to help researchers collect data vital to the future of human exploration of our solar system, and determine the effects that outer space has on the human body. This information is particularly important when you consider the recent efforts to establish the first human settlement on Mars.
USA Today reported that Kelly has grown two inches since being in space. This change, however, is temporary. As his body readjusts to the gravity pull on Earth, Kelly’s spine will contract to its original height.
In an interview with CNN, Kelly said that he became an environmentalist during his time in space. “There are parts of the Earth that are covered with pollution all the time. I saw weather that was unexpected. Storms bigger than we've seen in the past. This is a human effect. This is not a natural phenomenon.”
There really is so much that space travel can do to help us learn about ourselves, our planet and everything that surrounds it. Even if you’re not planning to become an astronaut anytime soon, there are still ways you can contribute to the exploration of the final frontier.
Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation is a nonprofit organization that inspires children to realize their passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) by designing and sharing activities and curriculums with schools and museums across the nation.
Want to support STEM education and future astronauts? You can do just that by making a donation to this great organization or by purchasing some snazzy new merchandise from their store.
About the Author: Alessandra “Alex” Lacson is a senior at American University. An island girl at heart, Alex prefers warm weather, but is always down to build a snowman. She’s passionate about LGBTQ rights, feminism and racial equality, and is a huge fan of the Chipotle burrito bowl. Alex is an intern with the Daily Do Good.