News, Science

Astronauts Return From Year In Space

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Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko. Image: NASA
Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko. Image: NASA

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth on March 2 after a 340-day mission aboard the International Space Station.

The nearly one-year mission is the longest amount of time an American astronaut has ever spent in space. (Four Russian cosmonauts have stayed in space longer.)

An important purpose of the mission was to study the effects of long-term space flights on humans. This will help NASA prepare astronauts to travel to Mars some day.

Researchers studied things like how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, stress and radiation during a long space flight.

Kelly’s twin brother Mark, who is a former astronaut, participated in the same studies here on Earth so scientists could compare their results.

Kelly said he believes it will be possible for astronauts to travel to Mars, even if it takes more than two years to get there. He said he could have stayed in space longer if necessary.

The astronauts carried out about 400 investigations during the mission. One of them was to test Microsoft’s HoloLens – a holographic computer that is worn like a visor and projects images onto the wearer’s environment. On space missions, it can allow people at Mission Control to see what an astronaut sees and guide him or her through a task. It can also project animated illustrations on top of objects that an astronaut is looking at, which may help to explain how to use them.

It can even be used for fun. In their free time, Kelly and his crew mates played a HoloLens videogame that let them fight off a virtual alien invasion.

Related Links
The One-Year Mission
Space flight records

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
If you were in space for a full year, what would you find to be the most challenging part? Why? As a class, share your answers and discuss the different answers. How does your discussion help you understand the challenges faced by these astronauts?

Reading Prompt: Comprehension Strategies
Today’s article made an effort to explain Microsoft’s HoloLens and how it would be used in space. Were you able to imagine the device, how it worked, and what it could be used for? What strategies did the author use to  help her reader’s understand?

Primary & Junior
Identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).

Intermediate
Identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand increasingly complex texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).

Language Feature: Proper Nouns
Proper nouns tell of a specific person, place, or thing. Today’s article has lots of proper nouns!
Underline all the proper nouns relating to people in one colour, places in another colour, and things in a third colour.