NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is soon due to return home after a year long mission in space, recently spoke to CNN about his own health and that of the planet Earth. Kelly, who has now spent longer in space than any other U.S. astronaut, told CNN‘s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta that he was doing well but looking forward to putting his feet back on solid ground:
I’ve been here since March . It’s not like the days seem to go by slower, but definitely the whole period of time seems like a long time. A year now seems longer than I thought it would be and so I definitely have an appreciation for certain things that freedom and being on Earth provide. It’s different when you’re in space, but I definitely think I would kind of relish my freedom more after this experience than maybe I did before.
Commander Kelly has been monitoring his own health throughout the voyage, collecting data that will be compared with that of his twin brother who is back on Earth in order to ascertain possible effects of space travel on the human body.
When asked to diagnose the Earth’s condition from his advantageous viewpoint, Kelly said that the planet looks “sick” and that atmospheric pollution is clearly visible from space:
There are definitely parts of Asia, Central America that when you look at them from space, you’re always looking through a haze of pollution
Kelly recently tweeted this view of the Earth’s atmosphere over Africa.
Day 321. Beautiful #Earth. Beautiful #Africa. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace pic.twitter.com/wmDjH28zej
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) February 12, 2016
However the astronaut went on to say that he believes some areas of the Earth’s atmosphere were real cause for concern:
As far as the atmosphere is concerned, and being able to see the surface, you know, I would say definitely those areas that I mentioned look kind of sick.
Kelly added that the atmosphere “looks very, very fragile and just kind of like this thin film, so it looks like something that we definitely need to take care of.” The commander has been active on social media throughout his voyage, recently sharing stunning views of the Aurora Borealis. He will return to Earth on March 1.