After 340 days in space, waiting a few hours to return home seems manageable. After landing in Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is scheduled to arrive in his hometown of Houston at 10:15 p.m. EST. The second lady of the United States, Jill Biden, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and astronaut Mark Kelly, his identical twin brother, will be on hand to welcome Kelly back to Earth.
"Scott has become the first American astronaut to spend a year in space, and in so doing, helped us take one giant leap toward putting boots on Mars," Bolden said in a statement.
Kelly, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, made up the one-year crew. The historic mission was the first time a NASA astronaut spent close to a year in space. After Kelly handed command of the space station over to NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, the one-year crew and cosmonaut Sergey Volkov departed from the space station Monday. The trio landed in Kazakhstan at 11:25 p.m. EST Monday.
Welcome back to Earth, @StationCDRKelly! Your year in space is vital to the future of American space travel. Hope gravity isn't a drag!
— President Obama (@POTUS) March 2, 2016
Kelly's adjustment to life back on Earth started immediately after arrival. NASA conducts field tests that evaluate the human body's reaction to gravity after spending several months in weightless conditions. Even standing can be a challenge to astronauts returning from space.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 2, 2016
"The year is a long time. It felt like I had been up there my whole life, you know, after the first six months," Kelly said in his first interview after returning to Earth. Kelly's mission will continue on Earth as researchers collect samples and conduct follow-up tests. Kelly's behavioral and visual health, fine motor skills, microbial and metabolic changes will be evaluated by researchers after the mission.
Kelly participated in more than 400 investigations aboard the space station. Kelly and his twin brother participated in a set of investigations that study the effects of a long-duration space mission on a genetic level.
You can view Kelly's arrival in Houston below.