Astronaut Scott Kelly’s year in space has quite literally been out of this world, but after 340 days, he’s coming back home to Earth.
During this time, Kelly has given the public an unprecedented view of what he’s seen while rotating Earth aboard the International Space Station.
Before Kelly went up for his mission, the astronaut was given direct order from President Barack Obama during the 2015 State of the Union address: “Make sure to Instagram it.” The result of that order? Kelly soon became a prolific social-media user, uploading an awe-inspiring collage of high-res photos nearly every day to Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.
While in space, Kelly documented many of the same things we do every day: He made coffee, ate burgers and tacos, watched football and baseball, got a flu shot, and took selfies with the earth over his shoulder. He also conducted more than 400 experiments to help NASA collect data for longer missions and the upcoming trip to Mars.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of Kelly’s research was with his twin, former astronaut Mark Kelly. The brothers performed the same physical and mental experiments on themselves, with Mark on Earth, to give NASA insight into how genes change after an extended stay in space.
As his journey ends, Kelly will be the first American to complete such a long-duration outside earth’s gravity. NASA is set to broadcast his return landing to Earth at 11:25 p.m. Tuesday, which you can watch here. In the meantime, check out some stunning photos and facts about Kelly’s mission below:
Astronaut Scott Kelly’s eye-opening #YearInSpace
More than 400 experiments. 340 days in orbit. 1 gorilla costume.
Kelly started off his mission by posting a selfie to Instagram, following President Obama’s direct orders.
He talked to POTUS (and FLOTUS) multiple times while in orbit. In one twitter chat, Kelly said it takes about 10 minutes for his tweet to post to Twitter.
He followed news and weather events, offering perspective and commentary at times. A tweet of Hurricane Patricia churning near Mexico received 39K retweets.
He was even able to grow veggies and flowers in space!
During various Twitter chats, Kelly revealed some interesting facts about life in space: He sees 16 sunsets a day, his sleeping bag has a strap on top, his drinking water comes from processed urine, and he throws away his clothes after wearing them in space.
Now for the eye candy. As Kelly took more photos (with a Nikon D4 camera, as noted in one of his Twitter chats),#EarthArt was born.
As Kelly’s mission came to a close, he decided to break out a gorilla suit for some fun. This was Kelly’s most-liked post on Instagram, garnering 52.2K likes!