Astronaut Scott Kelly returns to Earth after year in space

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Ground personnel help International Space Station crew member Scott Kelly of the U.S. to get off the Soyuz TMA-18M space capsule after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March 2, 2016. (Krill Kudryavtsev/Pool Photo via AP)

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth on Wednesday after an unprecedented year in space for NASA, landing in barren Kazakhstan with a Russian cosmonaut who shared his whole space station journey.

Their Soyuz capsule parachuted onto the central Asian steppes and ended a science-rich mission at the International Space Station that began last March and was deemed a steppingstone to Mars.



It was a triumphant homecoming for Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko after 340 days in space. Kelly pumped his fist as he emerged from the capsule, then gave a thumbs-up. He smiled and chatted with his doctors and others as photographers crushed around him in the freezing cold.

"The air feels great out here," NASA spokesman at the scene, Rob Navias, quoted Kelly as saying. "I have no idea why you guys are all bundled up."

Clearly animated and looking well, he said he didn't feel much different than he did after his five-month station mission five years ago.


The New Jersey native documented his journey via social media posting spectacular photos using the hashtag #YearInSpace.

The trip was intended to help researchers better understand how long-term spaceflight affects the human body.

"It's pretty rustic living in regards to having the ability to take a shower and things like that. It's a bit like camping," said Kelly during an interview with 'Good Day New York' last year.

With the Associated Press