SCIENCE

How Scott Kelly Will Have To Readjust To Life On Earth

Pass -- don't float -- the ketchup!

From the number of daily sunrises to preparing a cup of coffee, living in microgravity about 250 miles above the Earth is remarkably different from terrestrial life.

Scott Kelly, who recently wrapped up a 340-day mission aboard the International Space Station, is among the rare few who understands this well.

"I've been up here for a really long time and sometimes, when I think about it, I feel like I've lived my whole life up here," Kelly told CNN on Tuesday.

Scott Kelly participates in a spacewalk outside the International Space Station in December, 2015.
Scott Kelly participates in a spacewalk outside the International Space Station in December, 2015.

While the year in space wasn't Kelly's first (he's been on a total of four missions), it was his longest -- and longer than any other American astronaut. It will take time for him to re-acclimate, both physically and mentally, to life back on Earth.

Below, a look at five ways Kelly must readjust -- for better or worse -- after his extended stay in space.

  • Water
    Water is heavy, which means getting it to the International Space Station is extremely expensive (up to <a href="http://www.s
    YouTube/NASA Johnson
    Water is heavy, which means getting it to the International Space Station is extremely expensive (up to $125,000 per gallon). For that reason, the orbiting lab is equipped with a distiller and filters that recycle astronauts’ urine and sweat into clean drinking water.

    NASA estimates that during his year in space, Kelly drank some 193 gallons of filtered bodily waste.

    It tastes like bottled water, as long as you can psychologically get past the point that it’s recycled urine and condensate that comes out of the air," Layne Carter, the water subsystem manager for the ISS, told Bloomberg.

    No running water also complicates showering in space, which involves wipes and no-rinse shampoo.

    Now it makes sense why Kelly put jumping into a pool at the top of his to-do list once back in Houston.
  • Gravity
    From now on, if Kelly wants to <a href="http://shows.huffingtonpost.com/video/astronaut-scott-kelly-goes-bananas-in-space-in-
    Twitter/@StationCDRKelly
    From now on, if Kelly wants to dress like a gorilla and chase fellow astronaut Tim Peake, he'll have to use his strength and fight the force of gravity.

    And at first, that may prove challenging.

    As The Associated Press reports, Kelly will undergo weeks, or even months, of rehabilitation to "recover from the punishing effects of an extended stay in zero gravity, including degraded vision and the loss of bone and muscle."

    Thankfully, he'll no longer have to awkwardly strap himself to a Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill to get his daily exercise. Once his strength is back, he can just step out the front door and take a stroll outside -- no spacesuit required.
  • Weather
    From his vantage point 250 miles above the Earth, Kelly saw and photographed a lot of weather, from <a href="https://www.huff
    YouTube/GeoBeats News
    From his vantage point 250 miles above the Earth, Kelly saw and photographed a lot of weather, from Hurricane Patricia to the rare "thundersnow" unleashed during the East Coast's "Snowmageddon" blizzard.

    But inside his low Earth orbit home, Kelly experienced no weather at all. Not a single fresh, cool breeze passed through the station. After nearly a year without it, Kelly puts weather atop his list of things he missed most.

    "Going outside, there's no sun on your face. ... You never feel this cool breeze. It's always exactly the same," he said in a recent PBS video clip, part of a two-part series titled "A Year In Space" that premiered Wednesday.

    Kelly said on Wednesday, hours after landing safely in Kazakhstan, that feeling the first wave of cold air rush into the Soyuz spacecraft was nothing short of "amazing."

    Had enough snow and freezing temperatures this winter? Try a year in space.
  • Food
    For 340 straight days, Kelly ate food almost exclusively from a pouch&nbsp;and drank his liquids (again, filtered urine and s
    YouTube/NASA
    For 340 straight days, Kelly ate food almost exclusively from a pouch and drank his liquids (again, filtered urine and sweat) through a straw. To make matters worse, an astronaut's intake is "closely monitored and designed to provide exactly the nutrients they need," according to NASA.

    Last Thanksgiving, for example, Kelly and Expedition 45 flight engineer Kjell Lindgren filmed themselves indulging in smoked turkey, candied yams, "rehydratable corn" and potatoes au gratin -- all from a bag.

    "We don't have much of this stuff, so I hope he enjoys that because that was his Thanksgiving dinner right there," Kelly said after Lindgren took his first bite. 

    After so much packaged food, it is clear Kelly has already taken a liking to fresh produce. On Wednesday, he posted a picture on Twitter of his first salad back on Earth and said that growing fresh food -- like the lettuce he grew during his year in space -- will be "vital for our #JourneytoMars."
  • Sleeping
    If you think floating sounds like a pleasant way to get to sleep, think again.<br><br>In a recent <a href="http://stationcdrk
    NASA
    If you think floating sounds like a pleasant way to get to sleep, think again.

    In a recent Q&A on Tumblr, Kelly said that while he's never been a great sleeper, he gets less sleep in space and "definitely misses sleeping in a bed."

    Unlike collapsing into your bed after a long day, sleep in microgravity means there is "no change in the level of relaxation or comfort you experience," Kelly told ABC News.

    Space also impacted on Kelly's dreaming. "In the beginning, most of my dreams were Earth-based," he wrote. "Then, they became space-based. And now as I am getting ready to return home, I am dreaming of Earth again."
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
15 Mesmerizing Photos From Scott Kelly's Year In Space
CONVERSATIONS