Can you imagine spending an entire year in space? I can’t. But I have been obsessing about NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s mission to spend one year aboard the International Space Station. He made it past the 300 day mark last week. He also has a twin undergoing some of the same tests on Earth to evaluate the effects of living in space on the human body. Trippy!
He has revolutionized space social media with his incredible Instagram and Twitter game. I love his brutal honesty and constant amazement. And, just to add to his cool factor, Kelly just conducted a facisnating Reddit AMA. Reddit got to ask Commander Scott Kelly a bunch of fun questions. I’ve selected the highlights and pasted them below!
“I am getting smarter every day I am here.” – Scott Kelly
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.
Simon (5yrs): Could a rogue spaceship sneak up on the space station without you being aware, and dock?
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.
How are you doing this AMA? Are you directly typing it from a laptop on the ISS, or are is it being dictated?
I am talking to you live, but someone else is typing this in.
What do you suppose the chances are of us getting to mars any time soon?
Depends on your definition of soon. If we wanted to devote the appropriate resources to go to Mars, we could do it.
Being up in space for an entire year is a LONG time. Have you noticed any effects on your body from weightlessness?
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.
Could you tell us something unusual about being in space that many people don’t think about? (My personal favorite. EW! 😆)
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.
Do you stretch when you wake up in the morning from your space sleep? Is stretching just a waking up thing or does gravity make people want to stretch?
My muscles and joints are a whole lot better up here than with gravity. It’s almost like you are in a bed rest. There is no pressure or pain. I do stretch before I exercise because my muscles aren’t stretched out, they are somewhat dormant.
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.
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?
I am not a great sleeper. I don’t think I have ever slept 8 hours straight in the last 20 years. I wind up waking up a couple of times. My dreams are sometimes space dreams and sometimes Earth dreams. And they are crazy.
Today is your 302nd consecutive day aboard ISS, if you could go back and give yourself advice on day 1, what would you say?
The advice I would give myself on day 1 would be pack lighter!
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.
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. 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.
Greeting from earth mr.scott straight outta compton whats up?
Straight outta space. I want to see that movie, that’s what’s up.
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.
What ONE thing will you forever do differently after your safe return home?
I will appreciate nature more.
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.
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.
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 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.
What is your favorite part of Earth to see from space?
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.
What is your favorite space-related movie? What is your favorite non-space related movie?
I really enjoyed the Martian. I was able to watch it here aboard the space station. The Godfather.
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?
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.
What would YOU ask someone who has spent the last 300 days in space? 🚀