2015 – 2016
Scott Kelly Participated in One-Year Space Mission, Astronaut Twin Study
Starting in March 2015, Astronaut Scott Kelly (‘96) and Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko began a collaborative one-year investigation, twice as long as typical US missions, on the International Space Station (ISS). The findings are helping inform both countries about the medical and psychological challenges astronauts face during long-duration space flights. Scott Kelly and his identical twin brother, Astronaut Mark Kelly, participated in the Astronaut Twin Study during this time, when Mark remained on Earth. According to the Twin Study results published in 2019, Scott experienced a number of changes that Mark did not and most went away after his return to Earth. Those changes include: fluids clog the sinuses making faces appear puffy; bones get thinner and muscles atrophy due to weightlessness; and cells throughout the body are exposed to unearthly levels of radiation and become more at risk for cancer. After Scott Kelly earned a master of science in aviation systems from the UT Space Institute, he joined NASA. A veteran of four space flights, Scott commanded the ISS on Expeditions 26, 45, and 46. His first space flight was as pilot of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1999. The Kelly twins are retired from NASA.