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21 Amazing Photos from Astronaut Scott Kelly’s Year in Space

160211105628-02-scott-kelly-selfie-0211-exlarge-169Twice the duration of a typical mission, Kelly and Kornienko’s station-record 340 days in space afforded researchers a rare opportunity to study the medical, physiological, and psychological and performance challenges astronauts face during long-duration spaceflight.

The science driving the one-year mission, critical to informing the agency’s Journey to Mars, began a year before Kelly or Kornienko floated into the space station. Biological samples were collected and assessments were performed in order to establish baselines. Comparison samples were taken throughout their stay in space and will continue for a year or more after their return to Earth. Kelly’s identical twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, participated in parallel twin studies on Earth to provide scientists more bases for comparisons.

ISS Expedition 47 officially begins, under Kopra’s command, when the Soyuz carrying Kelly, Kornienko and Sergey Volkov undocks from the space station. Kopra, Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), will operate the station as a three-person crew until the arrival of three new crew members in two weeks. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on March 18 EST.

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WATCH LIVE: Scott Kelly Return to Earth Today After ‘Year in Space’

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