Wednesday, March 02, 2016

PBS: "A Year in Space": Scott Kelly outgrows his twin brother while weightless


Tonight, PBS presented “A Year in Space”, a one-hour NOVA documentary about Scott Kelly’s experience on a space station with a Soviet Cosmonaut. His identical twin brother Mark is Gabbie Biffords’s husband and is a retired astronaut.  The link is here.   The film was produced as an episode of a Time series (“Leaving Home”).

When he returned, Scott had "grown" almost two inches because under zero gravity his spine decompressed.  But people vary more in absolute height than most of us realize. He had also aged slightly less because of relativity and time dilation.

Scott visited Novosibirsk, Russia, for familiarization with the Russian program which had evolved from the Soviet Union days.



He had trained in the module in Houston.  But the days and hours leading to the launch are like a stepwise progression from this life into an afterlife, although this time he comes back after a year.

After three months, a collision with Russian space debris caused damage and led to some food rationing, a little bit like Matt Damon as the Martian.

The hardest months were probably the seventh through the ninth/

I would have had Matt Damon host this film had I made it.

Scott Kelly says that the Space Program is something larger than the self.


Update: April 23, 2016

Time offers a special edition heavily illustrated paperback by Jeffrey Kluger of "A Year in Space" with more discussion of the twins study, a woman in space, and spectacular shots of Earth cities from space (like San Francisco).

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