NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly’s Year in Space

One perk of space travel: a strong Instagram game.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly’s Year in Space

When Commander Scott Kelly’s Soyuz capsule touches down on the steppes of Kazakstan around 11:30 p.m. EST on March 1, he will officially become the first American to have spent almost an entire year in space. A year may not seem like that long, but think about it this way: When Kelly left the planet in March 2015, David Bowie was working on his final album and Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t finished. Donald Trump was just a washed-up reality TV personality with a bad comb-over.

Kelly’s year in space is, in part, to research the effects of long-term exposure to microgravity conditions in preparation for future NASA missions to places like Mars. However, unlike the future expeditions his work's designed to help, Kelly has spent his year on the celestial porch—orbiting the planet aboard the International Space Station. Given his proximity to Earth, the 52-year old has been able to to share his story in real-time, using social media to chronicle sights and experiences from the marvelous to the mundane—well, if there were anything mundane about being in space.

Here, we present Commander Kelly’s year in space, as captured through his lens and described through his words. All the quotes are his, taken from Twitter or Instagram; we only added details where we thought clarification would be helpful. Otherwise, you’re seeing our pale blue dot the way he did.

June 15, 2015: Tropical Storm Bill barrels towards the coast of Texas. "Concerned for all in its path including family, friends & colleagues," Kelly wrote.
February 17, 2016: "Got to see the #SuperBowl in person after all! But at 17,500MPH, it didn't last long. #YearInSpace"
May 10, 2015: A glimpse of shallow seas from high above. "watercolor from space. #YearInSpace".
July 12, 2015: Kelly snaps a selfie in the ISS’s Cupola, a model that provides 360-degree views of Earth and the station.
May 10, 2015: "Bermuda, your clouds and remoteness have shielded you for a long time, but I finally got my eye on you.#YearInSpace".
September 22, 2015: "The #Nile at night is a beautiful sight for these sore eyes. Good night from @space_station! #YearInSpace."
October 28, 2015: "#SpaceWalkSelfie Back on the grid! Great first spacewalk yesterday. Now on to the next one next week. #YearInSpace"
May 8, 2015: "Mt Etna Highest European active #volcano lives up to its Italian name Mongibello (beautiful mountain) from space too".
May 23, 2015: "Good morning #Manhattan! #bigapple #YearInSpace".
January 12, 2016: “Window seat at #SOTU. Last year @POTUS told me "Instagram it!" 636 #YearInSpace photos How am I doing Mr. President?”
October 2, 2015: "Early morning shot of Hurricane #‎Joaquin from @space_station before reaching ‪#‎Bahamas. Hope all is safe. #‎YearInSpace."
May 8, 2015: Libya’s Calanscio Sand Sea.
January 20, 2016: "#goodmorning #aurora and the Pacific Northwest! #YearInSpace"
May 10, 2015: "These dark clouds in the US heartland look very threatening. Be safe! #wxreport #YearInSpace"
January 16, 2016: A Zinnia that Kelly and other astronauts grew onboard the space station. "Yes, there are other life forms in space! #SpaceFlower #YearInSpace"
May 24, 2015: "Just flew over you #Honolulu #Hawaii. Happy #MemorialDay! #YearInSpace ".
October 12-13, 2015: "#EarthArt in one pass over the #Australian continent. Picture 1 of 17. #YearInSpace".
September 17, 2015: "Clear skies over much of the USA today. #GoodMorning from @Space_Station! #YearInSpace."
April 6, 2015: "Australia. You are very beautiful. Thank you for being there to brighten our day. #YearInSpace"
June 22, 2015: "Yesterday's aurora was an impressive show from 250 miles up. Good morning from the International Space Station! ‪#‎YearInSpace"