Astronaut Scott Kelly spoke with CBS’s John Dickerson on Face the Nation this morning from the International Space Station, about 220 miles into outer space.
From the U.S. Destiny module, Kelly, who broke the record on days an American spent in space this October, reminisced about his first trip out of the atmosphere in 1999. It was a seven-day flight to the Hubble Space Telescope. He made sure to point out that, “flying in space is a privilege whether it’s the first time or the fourth time.” And this is his fourth time. From that one week in ‘99 to this almost yearlong trek, he says that next, if he keeps on this trajectory, “I’ll have to fly to Mars.”
Dickerson asked him how he’d prove to conspiracy theorists that he’s actually in zero gravity. Kelly responded by flipping smoothly in a 360-degree circle. “I would just do this for awhile,” he joked.
Kelly is on the ISS until March 3, 2016, to test the effects of microgravity and radiation on the body, including his DNA; they’re using his brother as a control. The astronauts collect data that will be analyzed on the ground. Kelly can already see some of the effects, like changes in his vision (that leveled off) and loss of muscle (they don’t walk around). He even gave himself the flu shot up there.
Kelly noted that you need a technical and scientific background to become an astronaut. They want “high performers” that work well in teams. So, little dreamers, take note.
Seeing Earth from up there “never fails to impress,” Kelly observed, but it’s also not as thrilling as the first time.
Apparently, these spacemen are always watching the news. When Dickerson asked what Kelly thought of the 2017 presidential elections, he answered diplomatically, it’s “been very interesting.”