A couple of years ago, I got one of the juiciest TV assignments ever: To interview NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who was just about to lift off into space for a year aboard the International Space Station. That’s by far the longest any American has ever spent continuously in space. The idea was to study the effects of long-term zero-gravity living in space, in the name of preparing for a manned mission to Mars. (You can
Earlier, Kelly had already spent a six-month stint in space, and NASA already knew that bad things happen to you after awhile: you lose bone mass, you lose muscle, your immune system weakens, your eyesight suffers, and you get as much radiation each day as you’d get from 20 X-rays. Now, Kelly had more of that to look forward to. And remember: NASA stopped launching manned rockets in 2012 when it retired the Space Shuttle — so Kelly would ride to the Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, which still uses decades-old technology.
“The good news is that it works — most of the time,” Kelly told me that day in 2015 as we climbed into a mockup of the tiny Soyuz capsule that would carry him into space. “They’ve had a couple accidents. But, you know, so have we, on the Space Shuttle. It’s risky. But you know, flying through space is a risky thing.”
k">steady stream of tweets</a> (and stunning photos) from space, and then made it back to Earth. (The Russians don’t sp