NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly Begins His Year in Space, Twin to Stay on Earth

Mar 27, 2015 at 2:29 pm |
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It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for twin-kind…

US astronaut Scott Kelly is about to make history by becoming the first American to spend a year (technically around 342 days) in outer space. No American has spent more than six months in orbit before this attempt.

And while Russians have been doing extended stays in space for years, what makes Scott Kelly‘s mission so unique isn’t even the astronaut himself: it’s his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly.

To study the specifics of how lengthy periods of time in space affect the human body, especially bone loss and vision, both brothers will provide samples of urine, blood, and other bodily fluids as well as undergo other testing to study differences in bacteria and how space radiation affects aging.

The fact that the Kellys are identical twins provides unique advantages that scientists haven’t been able to study in a situation such as this before. Scott leaves for the International Space Station later this afternoon (March 27). You can stay up to date with his time in space on his Facebook page.

“I believe in science,” said Mark, a space and aviation analyst. “I’m very grateful for the opportunities that the U.S. government has given me, NASA in particular, so I’m glad to do it.”

Now that’s #twinning.

Scott Kelly will be the first American to spend a year in space, but his identical twin will stay on the ground! Learn about the mission!