NASA One-Year Mission Astronauts Get Set For 350 Days In Space

scott and mark kelly

How does the human body respond to long-duration spaceflight? Does radiation present a problem? How about long periods of weightlessness? And what about the isolation?

We’re about to find out.

NASA’s “One-Year Mission” launches at 3:42 p.m. EDT tomorrow, when American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan for the International Space Station.

A new perspective. The pair will spend the next 350 days in orbit, helping the space agency gain a better understanding of the biomedical aspects of long-duration spaceflight as it gears up for a manned mission to Mars.

This won’t be the longest anyone has spent in space. That record belongs to Valery Polyakov, a Russian cosmonaut who orbited the Earth from January 1994 to March 1995–almost 438 consecutive days.

But with typical ISS missions lasting four to six months, the One-Year Mission is giving these astronauts a new perspective on their time in orbit.

“On a six-month flight, your mindset is you’re going to go up there, and you’re going to be up there for a period of time, and you’re going to come home,” Kelly said at a press conference last January, according to “When it’s a whole year, I don’t have that same perspective. It’s almost like I feel like I’m just moving there and I’m not coming back. Or, it’s going to be so long that when I come back, it’s almost like I never lived here.”

(Story continues below.)

I’m thinking this is about to get real. #YearInSpace

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 6, 2015

So far, scientists know that long exposure to a zero-gravity environment can affect eyesight and the immune system, and can even lead to muscle atrophy or bone loss. —> Read More