Astronaut Scott Kelly Announces April 1 Retirement 

After his #yearinspace, Scott Kelly returns to the Earth to retire from NASA. 

NASA/Scott Kelly

Astronaut Scott Kelly may actually be the most interesting man in the, well, known universe. After spending a year in space and just landing back on Earth on March 3, 2016, Kelly announced that he is retiring at the end of the month.

This was the retired Navy captain’s fourth trip out of the atmosphere, which means that he’s spent more cumulative time in orbit (520 days) than any other American. He and Mark — his twin brother, fellow astronaut, and control waiting on this planet — were using their bodies to see how the space life affects the human body. He did grow about two inches up there, but it seemed we learned more about how space influenced Kelly’s perspectives than his physique during his time on the International Space Station.

Oddly enough, we were able to gauge these shifts thanks to his many beautiful photographs posted on Twitter. He even became a bit of a TV star. For the past few months, you could flip the channel multiple times and continuously see Kelly’s bald head and hear his measured words representing the U.S. as a talk show guest. Stephen Colbert called him the Kim Kardashian of the ISS because of his internet pics and popularity. Kelly also chatted directly with fans on Tumbr’s Answer Time.

Besides marveling at the planet, he also grew the first space flower (an orange zinnia) and played ping-pong with water molecules. Clearly, he had a good time.

He also announced at a March 4 press conference in Houston that this trip made him more of an environmentalist. “We have to take care of the air we breathe and the water we drink,” he said. “I believe we do have an impact on that and we have the ability to change it.”

By the end of his journey, you could just sense from his tweets that he was really itching to get back on dry land. And though his readjustment to gravity won’t be easy, he’s still enjoying the benefits of life as the coolest American guy just back from space. Jill Biden even delivered him a beer and apple pie when he got back to Houston.

“On April 1, I will retire from NASA. While I am leaving NASA, the journey is not over,” Kelly wrote in a Facebook note. “To continue toward any journey, we must always challenge ourselves to take the next step.” He will do so by continuing to participate in NASA’s study on his body.

Watch the video below for an idea as to how the last year was for this pioneering astronaut.

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