Scott Joseph Kelly is an engineer, retired American astronaut, and a retired U.S. Navy Captain. A veteran of four space flights, Kelly commanded the International Space Station on Expeditions 26, 45, and 46.
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My name is Scott Kelly. I am a NASA astronaut who has been living aboard the International Space Station since March of last year, having just passed 300 days of my Year In Space, an unprecedented mission that is a stepping stone to future missions to Mars and beyond. I am the first American to spend a whole year in space continuously.
On this flight, my fourth spaceflight, I also became the record holder for total days in space and single longest mission. A year is a long time to live without the human contact of loved ones, fresh air and gravity, to name a few. While science is at the core of this groundbreaking spaceflight, it also has been a test of human endurance.
Connections back on Earth are very important when isolated from the entire world for such a period of time, and I still have a way to go before I return to our planet. So, I look forward to connecting with you all back on spaceship Earth to talk about my experiences so far as I enter my countdown to when I will begin the riskiest part of this mission: coming home.
You can continue to follow my Year In Space on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Yes, I really am in space. 300 days later. I'm still here. Here's proof! https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/690333498196951040
Ask me anything!
Real but nominal communication loss from the International Space Station, so I'm signing off! It's been great answering your Qs today. Thanks for joining me! https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/691022049372872704
Hi Cmdr Kelly! I am dad to a couple of boys who are very much into space and astronaut work. Here are their two astronaut questions:
Peter (7yrs old): How long does it take to get used to being in space?
Simon (5yrs): Could a rogue spaceship sneak up on the space station without you being aware, and dock?
Peter, 302 days and counting! The longer I am here the more normal I feel. It always seems to be getting better.
Simon, Maybe an alien spaceship with a cloaking device. But not your normal spaceship, no. Unless it had a cloaking device, which doesn't exist, the U.S. Air Force would see it coming.
Why do you always have your arms folded?
Your arms don't hang by your side in space like they do on Earth because there is no gravity. It feels awkward to have them floating in front of me. It is just more comfortable to have them folded. I don't even have them floating in my sleep, I put them in my sleeping bag.
Hello Commander Kelly. Destin here. I've noticed your photography skills have gotten pretty sharp over the course of your mission. I'm enjoying your Instagram account.
We walked around the ISS in building 9 before your launch.. How has the configuration of the Space Station changed since your launch?
I also know you're a fan of "Endurance": Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. How often have you thought about his men while you're on Station during your Year In Space?
As you know, the Astronaut application process is open and I, like thousands of others want your job. Want to trade places?
Stay safe Commander.
Well, I haven't been in building 9 since February. But we have a new Cygnus cargo craft here.
I read Endurance: Shakleton's Incredible Voyage on my last flight, and I read it again during this flight. So, I do think of those men when I am on the space station. Thanks, Destin. I am getting smarter every day I am here.
Hi Scott, thanks for doing this AMA. Could you tell us something unusual about being in space that many people don't think about?
The calluses on your feet in space will eventually fall off. So, the bottoms of your feet become very soft like newborn baby feet. But the top of my feet develop rough alligator skin because I use the top of my feet to get around here on space station when using foot rails.
Hi Scott! Thanks for doing this interview today.
My Question: What is like to work with members of other nations space programs? Do the poltics that take place on Earth affect your relationship with them?
I think it's one of the great things about the space station program is that it's an international program. We get along very well. We have to because we rely on each other for our lives.
Do you and the the other crew members play any space pranks on each other?
EDIT: In hindsight I should have also asked what those pranks were.
Being up in space for an entire year is a LONG time. Have you noticed any effects on your body from weightlessness? Are your plans for recovery once you're back on earth more intensive than traditional programs for other astronauts who only go up for shorter time periods?
Good question. Yeah, there are a lot of changes that happen. Some of them you can't see, cause it's your eyes! Probably too many changes to go into detail here. I think my rehab plan is the same as if I were here for 6 months, but I'm not positive.
I am Adam. I am 5 years old.
How far away are you from earth?
I am 250 miles above the Earth, and I'm going very fast.
Hello Scott, Would it be possible for you to photograph the planets all in alignment over the next 2 weeks and post on FB and Twitter? I'd love to see them from your standpoint in space. Thanks. :)
I've been trying. I've been looking for them. I don't think our orbit is where we can see them yet, but we will be. I'm keeping my eye out for it and will certainly share them with everyone when I see it.
What ONE thing will you forever do differently after your safe return home?
I will appreciate nature more.
How are you doing this AMA? Are you directly typing it from a laptop on the ISS, or are is it being dictated?
What do you suppose the chances are of us getting to mars any time soon?
I am talking to you live, but someone else is typing this in.
Depends on your definition of soon. If we wanted to devote the appropriate resources to go to Mars, we could do it.
Dear NAStranaut Scott Kelly,
My name is Victoria. I loved your blooming zinnias. Excellent space gardening! I have many questions, but here are a two:
I remember reading that the one thing you miss most about earth is basically earth. It's too bad you guys can't have a nice lawn to sit around on in space, or like an ISS team pet. Have you guys thought about getting a little cuddly hamster or something? They spend a lot of time in their little ball, so maybe they'd be cool with a hamster space ball. I kid, I kid.
I'm excited for you to come back to earth so that I can read/watch all of the interviews. I hope you and the crew are well and I love following you guys on Facebook/Instagram!
Texas, USA, Earth
Greetings Scott Kelly,
When you were in high school (which i am atm), what did you focus mostly on? (etc. maths, physics, chemistry..)
Thank you for doing this AMA, greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately for me, I focused on looking out the window and daydreaming which took a lot of effort to recover from, proving that anything is possible!
What's the creepiest thing you've encountered while on the job?
Generally it has to do with the toilet. Recently I had to clean up a gallon-sized ball of urine mixed with acid.
Hi, I'm a Kindergarten Teacher. My students and I have been following you since you went up last year. My past and present students are curious; what kind of things do you do for fun?
I read, write and do arithmetic like a Kindergartner (just kidding). But I do read, take photos of the Earth and play with my food.
What's it like to sleep in 0G? It must be great for the back. Does the humming of the machinery in the station affect your sleep at all?
Sleeping here is harder here in space than on a bed because the sleep position here is the same position throughout the day. You don't ever get that sense of gratifying relaxation here that you do on Earth after a long day at work. Yes, there are humming noises on station that affect my sleep, so I wear ear plugs to bag.
Hey up there!! What does zero G feel like on your body when you are just hanging out? Does it make your eyes open a little bit wider, or anything like that??
Thank you so much for your dedication to the advancement of human space exploration.
It feels like there is no pressure at all on your body. Sometimes it feels like you are just hanging but you are not hanging by anything, just hanging there. If I close my eyes, I can give myself the sensation that I am falling. Which I am, I am falling around the Earth.
Mr. Kelly, what is the largest misconception about space/space travel that society holds onto?
I think a lot of people think that because we give the appearance that this is easy that it is easy. I don't think people have an appreciation for the work that it takes to pull these missions off, like humans living on the space station continuously for 15 years. It is a huge army of hard working people to make it happen.
This is so great! 1.How do you regulate your sleep cycles? 2.How heavy is your space suit? and last, 3. How well have you adjusted to keeping social relationships while away? Will you have transitioning issues with this when you return home?
Happy 302 days in space! And thank you for doing this AMA from space! So cool! I have two main questions; first question inspired by The Martian and character Mark Watney's mission length.
Upon completing your 1 year in space, if the offer was on the table, would you do a 2 year space mission in the future? And why? Would it depend on the mission (Moon, Mars, ISS again)?
Can you describe your sleep cycle over the last 300 days in space? Always a solid 8 hours? Did you ever get strangely tired or have you consistently felt well rested? Bonus Question: When sleeping, is your dream world mostly in zero-G?
Hi Captain Kelly, I have two questions for you.
You have had an amazing career including
Becoming a test pilot
Flying to Hubble and ISS
Landing the Shuttle
Spending more time in space than any other American
...What accomplishment/goal, space related or not, do you still want to achieve?
Also, today is your 302nd consecutive day aboard ISS, if you could go back and give yourself advice on day 1, what would you say?
I'd like to have some involvement and continue to work towards people going to Mars.
The advice I would give myself on day 1 would be pack lighter!
greeting from earth mr.scott straight outta compton whats up?
Straight outta space. I want to see that movie, that's what's up.
What will be the first thing you eat once you're back on Earth?
The first thing I will eat will probably be a piece of fruit (or a cucumber) the Russian nurse hands me as soon as I am pulled out of the space capsule and begin initial health checks.
The ball of urine I get, but... Acid? How? Where from?
The acid is added to the urine so the urine doesn't damage the machinery that moves it through the system. It keeps it from clogging up the system.
Hi Capt Kelly!
My girlfriend who doesn't reddit but follows you on IG wants to know the answer to this very important question - what happens when you sneeze or blow your nose in space? Does it stay on your face like tears?
I just sneezed twice coming into my crew quarters. And I do what I do on Earth and cover my mouth with my hand. If I didn't do that, it's possible the sneeze could be found floating in another module. I generally don't sneeze into open air on Earth or here in space.
How many hours a day do you have to exercise in order to stay healthy in space?
About an hour and a half a day
So weird, just thinking 2 days ago whether or not you've had an AMA because I wanted ask the following question:
What are the cardiovascular effects of longterm space travel?
Is your blood pressure lower?
Thank you and I love your Instagram
We are studying cardiovascular effects of long-term space travel. Much of the research we are doing here on the space station looks at the responses of our bodies in microgravity.
It seems blood pressure is lower because it doesn't have to fight against gravity.
Do you ever feel alone/afraid? If so, how do you combat those feelings?
I don't feel alone or afraid. I was up here for 6 weeks as the only American on the U.S. side of the space station and I was fine. I have been afraid when the ground has called and privatized the audio generally meaning something bad has happened. So I have been a little afraid.
We are big fans of yours! I watched the livestream of the spacewalk last year- amazing. Does everything seem to take a really long time or do you get used to that? What would you like to see the next president do for the space program? And how often do you get to talk to your brother and daughters?
How the connectivity from up there?
Pretty good. I'm chatting with you from space now. So, I'd say good enough. It's like dial-up, but sometimes it works better than other times.
Hello Captain Kelly,
I would like to ask, does the ISS have any particular smell?
Smells vary depending on what segment you are in. Sometimes it has an antiseptic smell. Sometimes it has an odor that smells like garbage. But the smell of space when you open the hatch smells like burning metal to me.
Do you ever have disagreements/arguments on board with the other crew, and if so what is it usually about?
I have never been a participant in an argument. I have witnessed some. Generally it involves work.
From two girls who are obsessed with science projects and art
Caitlin (7th grade): Is any of the food as good as homemade food?
Erin (4th grade): Does the moon look bigger from the space station?
Me: Will you continue to practice your new-found gardening skills when you return home?
Caitlin, No absolutely not. But I guess it depends on your home! It is good enough, but not as good.
Erin, No, we are not much closer.
Hi Scott! I'm a huge fan of your Instagram, and your amazing pictures of our planet.
My Question: What is your favorite part of Earth to see from space?
Also: Did you get to watch the SpaceX landing? What was your reaction?
My favorite spot on Earth to see from space is probably the Bahamas. The brilliant and varied colors of the blue water and contrast from here is pretty spectacular.
It was in the middle of my night. I couldn't watch it right away, but I read about it online. I was very impressed and excited for all of us.
What is your favorite space-related movie?
Also, if you had the chance to ride the space shuttle again, or take Orion on a journey to Mars, which would you pick?
I really enjoyed the Martian. I was able to watch it here aboard the space station. I've flown the space shuttle a couple of times, so I would want to fly to Mars. That would be something new and exciting, and is the next step in our journey of space exploration.
Do you really feel the change in outside pressure when getting outside during the EVAs, where your suit inflates more and is it harder to move?
Do you have sense of stereoscopic depth, as to how far the earth is from you, or is it one scary and inconceivable distance?
What is one question you wish people asked you, or is just an interesting fact you would like people to know?
Amazing opportunity to talk to you, I'm watching ISS every time it's visible and flying over me!
Our spacesuit when we are spacewalking has about 4psi above the outside pressure, so when you are in it, it's generally the same stiffness as when you are doing a spacewalk.
When I look at the clouds over the Earth, and I know how high clouds are, I get a sense we are really, really far above those clouds. So, it does look like we are very high. I wouldn't call it scary, but I am aware I am in space. A spacewalk requires an incredible amount of mental concentration, so it's not something I think of when I am spacewalking.
Hi Commander Kelly. My question is:
Now that you are able to count down the days to come home in March, what will you miss most about the Space Station daily life?
The challenge of living here. It's not easy and I have always liked to do things that are hard.
What is your favorite David Bowie song?
You might be surprised, but it's not Space Oddity. Probably Modern Love.
Hi Captain Kelly,
What advice would you give folks aspiring to be astronauts?
You need to choose a field to work in that is qualifying first. Some kind of engineering, math, science, medicine, military pilot, etc. Then, you need to do well at whatever you are doing. Also, try to develop other skills beyond your work.
Do you watch sci-fi while you're up there or does some of that stuff hit a little too close to home?
I watched the movie Gravity not long after I arrived back in last March. I thought it was a cool movie to watch here aboard the space station that is also the setting of Gravity.
Captain Kelly, I have been hearing about the deorbiting of the ISS in the next ten years.
What is your view on how the ISS hardware/modules have been aging? Do you believe it makes more sense to deorbit the ISS or attempt to keep it going by replacing modules as they become too old to maintain?
It seems like the inside of the space station has very good material condition. The outside looks a little aged. As far as maintaining it versus deorbiting it, it just depends what our priorities are. I think it would be great to keep it going forever, but of course everything has costs.
Hi Commander Scott Kelly!
- If you could choose to, would you rather be born in another future generation where scientific/technological advancements have improved so greatly you could experience going traveling to another planet as an astronaut?
- What's your camera setup? Your astrophotography truly is out of this world.
Definitely would want to be from the future! Assuming it's a good future.
I use a Nikon D4. Depending on what I am taking a picture of, the camera settings and lenses vary.
What is your favorite non-space related movie?
It's safe to say that you're living a life many only dream of and I thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Wishing for your safe return upon the missions completion! Anyway, my questions are;
Out of all the things you've accomplished in your career, what is the one thing that you have done which you are most proud of?
What are some of your favorite things to do in zero gravity?
Thanks once again!
Hello Commander Kelly!
I love star gazing, but sometimes it is difficult for me to do it from where I live. I bet observing Earth must be astounding, but it shouldn't be different from observing the universe, right? Do you like star gazing? How is it from the ISS? What about the shooting stars?
I love your work! Cheers.
Oh yeah, we have a pretty obscured view of the night sky. We are moving pretty fast (17,500mph). We do not have a telescope we can look through, though. I have seen shooting stars, but not as many as you would think.
I want to first say that you are a huge inspiration to me! I have been following your mission each day since you went up last year.
I know you guys have a 3D printer on the space station so have you done any interesting prints or any prints for fun besides the test prints?
Good luck and have fun with the rest of your mission!
We do have a 3D printer, but I haven't seen it. It is packed away and we haven't used it since I have been here. Hopefully we will use it soon!
Hello, Mr. Kelly. Now that you have experienced so much time in space, what do you think is your personal limit? How much time could you spend in space before you throw up your hands and say "That's it! I gotta get home!"?
It would depend on why I was here. If there was a legitimate reason to stay here, I would do that. If staying here longer was just to stay longer, I would throw up my hands.
Greetings Scott! Just two quick questions:
I hate to disappoint you, but not really. I lived on the space station for 159 days before. I knew that was a long time, and I knew this would be longer.
Hi Scott! :) First off, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions, and thank you for the work you are doing to improve our understanding and appreciation of this vast universe that we, no matter how small of a dot we are, call home. I can't wait to read your answers to all the great questions so many people are posting right now. I saw the pictures you've posted over the past couple of days of Winter Storm Jonas moving over the U.S. They truly are absolutely breathtaking shots, and really puts into perspective just how powerful nature is (as if the two-and-a-half feet of snow outside my door didn't put it into enough perspective for me, haha). My question is, what is the single most breathtakingly beautiful or powerful thing you've seen from space? (If there is even just one - I can imagine you've probably seen so many awe-inspiring things from way up there that it might be hard to narrow it down!) Once again, thank you so much! :)
Probably this one day where we had incredible aurora completely around the space station. Seeing North and South Korea from space is pretty profound. Hurricane Patricia was pretty profound as well.