Astronaut Scott Kelly Reveals the Challenges of Living in Space During Reddit AMA

Kelly also reveals why he seems to always have his arms folded.


When NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly ends his much-publicized “year in space,” we might find him in the Bahamas, soaking up the sun and wading in the blue-green water that surrounds the 700 or so islands and cays in the Atlantic.

“My favorite spot on Earth to see from space is probably the Bahamas,” Kelly told a questioner during a question-and-answer session held on Reddit Saturday. “The brilliant and varied colors of the blue water and contrast from here is pretty spectacular.” (Later, Kelly said he “will appreciate nature more” when he returns to Earth on March 2, another reason to look for him in Nassau.)

Kelly is winding down his record-breaking stay — he passed day 302 on Saturday — and since a big part of this job on the International Space Station is to inform the public about space, he conducted a question-and-answer session Saturday on Reddit. (Kelly gave his answers verbally and someone typed them in for him.)

He answered a myriad of questions about life in space and offered some eye-opening answers. The bottoms of his feet, for example, are as soft as a newborn’s: “The calluses on your feet in space will eventually fall off,” Kelly told one questioner who asked him to share something “unusual about being in space.”

He continued, “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.”

Sleeping isn’t so easy, either: “The sleep position here is the same position throughout the day. You don’t ever get that sense of gratifying relaxation here that you do on Earth after a long day at work. Yes, there are humming noises on station that affect my sleep, so I wear ear plugs to bag.”

And yes, his dreams are mixed: “My dreams are sometimes space dreams and sometimes Earth dreams. And they are crazy,” Kelly said from a connection about as fast as a dial-up.

Scott Kelly on Saturday


One of the first questions he answered was why he always seems to fold his arms in photos: “Your arms don’t hang by your side in space like they do on Earth because there is no gravity,” Kelly said. “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.”

As for the single most challenging thing? “The most challenging thing about being in space for a year is time. A year is a long time,” Kelly said.

So, maybe we shouldn’t expect Kelly to be chilling in the ‘hamas. Life aboard the ISS is challenging, which is what drew Kelly to this project in the first place:

“It’s not easy and I have always liked to do things that are hard,” he said.

Read the full AMA here: I am Astronaut Scott Kelly, currently spending a year in space. AMA!

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