I am Scott Kelly, retired NASA astronaut. AMA!
Hello Reddit! My name is Scott Kelly. I am a former NASA astronaut, a veteran of four space flights including a year living on the International Space Station that set the record for the single longest space mission by an American astronaut, and a participant in the Twins Study.
I wanted to do another AMA because I was astounded to learn that that according to the 3M State of Science Index, nearly 40 percent of people think that if science didn’t exist, their everyday life wouldn’t be all that different. [https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/about-3m/state-of-science-index-survey/?utm_medium=redirect&utm_source=vanity-url&utm_campaign=3M.com/scienceindex]
I’m here to talk more about why it’s important that everyone values science and appreciates the impact it has on our lives. I'm ready to answer questions about my time in space, the journey that got me there (despite initially being distracted in school and uninterested in science), and hear from you about how we get more people to appreciate and recognize the importance of science.
Here's proof: https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/989559436258762752
EDIT: Thank you everyone for your questions! I enjoyed the discussion and am excited to keep helping others appreciate the importance of science. Thanks for joining!
After spending a long time in space you have a different perspective on our planet and what it provides us and how we're all in this thing called humanity together.
Hi Scott! I’m about halfway through your book and it is such a fascinating read.
How realistic is it to think about a Mars colony in the next 50 years?
Very realistic, but to quote my brother "It's more about political science than rocket science."
My question would be, how was it to sleep in space?
It's hard because you're level of relaxation is the same whether you're trying to sleep or work. You're not anymore comfortable when it's time to go to sleep. For example on earth when you sit you're more comfortable because of gravity. You can't do that in space.
What would you recommend for a 40 year old, non science person do to be involved in this revived interest in space exploration?
Vote for political candidates who are science minded.
Scott! Thank you so much for doing this. I loved watching your journey through space (I'm a longtime twitter follower).
What was your favorite place on earth to look down at from above?
The Bahamas because it's such a big, brilliant, blue spot on the planet.
Is breaking wind 10x worse in a space suit?
You'd have to ask my brother
does space have a smell? I once heard it described as burnt chocolate chip cookies.
It smells more like burnt metal
Scott, It's been a dream of mine from childhood to venture into Space. I'll probably not get the chance to do that as life took me to a different route. I'd just love to say thanks for the things you've put your mind and body through in the hopes of dragging us closer to the stars.
My question is, with private space companies now popping up, such as Space X, Blue Origin, etc. Do you think that they'll leapfrog NASA and other public space programs or does it seem more from your knowledge that it would be more of a level playing field with information sharing?
I think there are places where government are more capable and others where private industry will excel. I think there are ways they can compliment each other.
Star Wars or Star Trek (or something else)?
Star Wars. Always.
Thank you Commander Kelly for doing this!
I am a biologist studying exercise and circadian rhythms in particular how exercise can change circadian rhythm in the skeletal muscle. I am also a big fan of space flight. As astronaut on board the ISS, you see 16 sunrises and sunsets per day the work schedule is tight and you probably have changing sleeping schedules in a never really dark environment
How much do you feel the effect of circadian disruption that comes along with the challenges of living and working in space?
Is there anything that you do to cope with the effects caused by circadian disruption such as sleeping problems, reduced alertness and concentration.?
Since your return from space do you appreciate a good night sleep on regular basis more than before?
We try to avoid changing our sleep schedule and we have window covers that can make the space station dark. Generally at the end of the working day, I would dim the lights before turning them off. Now we have lights that can be adjusted for the purpose of helping with the circadian rhythm.
Do you ever try to put objects down mid air forgetting there's gravity?
After my first flight, I had a tendency to want to that. I definitely tried to float out of bed to go to the bathroom.
How soon do you predict space tourism will become a reality for the masses?
I think it will be a reality for some in a few years. I'm not sure about for the masses. I hope it develops along the same timeline as aviation did.
Being an astronaut has always been a dream of mine ever since childhood. If I do not go through military route in order to get there what do you reccomend I should do? I'm currently a dual major in physics and electrical engineering and I work for boeing. I plan on getting my PPL within the next two years. Am I on the right track or should I branch out and find more things? Thank you!
You seem to have the minimum qualifications. NASA likes people who have done well in their jobs, but they also like people who have other skills like leadership, teamwork, ability to work with your hands. Find ways to get more of those skills if you don't already have them.
With the tense international tensions and the ISS close to retirement, what do you think the near future will be in manned space exploration?
I don't know, it can be anything we want it to be. It's up to us.
What is the best advise to give to my 17yo daughter about making a huge goal and going for it? She was accepted at a top school with top grades and concerned with the challenge of completing a degree in biochemistry.
A giant leap is really a number of small manageable steps. Take one at a time.
Does it offend you that people believe the Earth is flat or do you understand their point of view?
I think a lot of those flat earthers don't believe the earth is flat. The risk is when you discount something that is clearly fact, it causes people to question other scientific facts and that can be dangerous.
Surely, you know lots of people want to become astronauts. What about you made you the right candidate in the eyes of your supervisors?
I was a test pilot in the Navy and I had a good reputation. But more than that I think there is a lot of luck and timing involved.
Does space debris have an often impact on the ISS?
Yes it hits it all the time
What're the top places you want to visit on Earth that you have seen from space?
Number 1: Tibet and the small lakes North of the Himalayas Number 2: Everywhere else.
What kind of unexplained objects did you see in orbit?
I never saw anything that I couldn't explain later after looking at it for a while.
Hello there Mr. Kelly thank you for doing this AMA. What was the most uncomforting thing about space?
The fluid in your body gets redistributed to your head, so you have this congested feeling for a year.
If a space station had an inner and outer rotating ring providing the equivalent of gravity, what g force would you want each to provide, and how much time would you want to spend in them vs the zero-g part of the station?
I would have it less than earth's gravity, but I would live mostly in gravity because things are easier to do. I would visit the zero gravity part for fun.
I was fortunate enough to attend your lecture in Hutchinson. I was wondering if you got the opportunity to tour the Cosmosphere while you were there? If so, did you enjoy it?
Yes I did and I would like to go back. It's a great museum that tells a really interesting story.
Do you think the world, and humanity, would be different if everyone could spend a month or so in the ISS, looking down at the planet?
Absolutely. Looking down at the planet, you don't see political borders. You see one planet of which we all belong to. You see the fragility of our atmosphere that is everything protecting our beautiful Earth. Thanks for your questions!
what one thing would you do different if you went back for another year ?
Bring less stuff.
In what ways did the earth looked different after you came back from your longest mission? Did the extended stay in space made the current events unfolding on earth look meager?
It's sad that most of the news that comes from Earth is bad news. When I got back, everything looked better. Earth has a lot to offer.
Welcome, and congrats on all you've done! Where would you really like to see space exploration take us in the coming years?
I think we should make a real, honest effort to go to Mars.
What do you think about the new space x suit? Would you be willing to be the first person to actually test it in space?
I don't know a whole lot about it. It looks really cool and I'm sure it's well designed, so yes.
Living for a whole year in space truly is an amazing feat. You take of how science affects our daily lives. What are some of the processes and technologies of space and space travel that are already affecting us today?
And what is your opinion companies taking over future space programs such as space X, as opposed to having only government run programs?
Telecommunications, GPS, microprocessors all come from technologies of space.
I read that your genes are no longer identical to your twin brother's. So I guess my question is: Is Annihilation non-fiction?
My genes are the same, what changed was gene expression. I'm not familiar with that movie.
What does it mean for your gene expression to change?
Think of your genes as an orchestra and my brother's genes as the exact same orchestra. Change in expression is the orchestras playing a slightly different tune.
Hi Scott, thank you for doing this AMA. Question(s)... What skills do you think are extremely useful when traveling to space? Does Russian space food really taste better than American space food?
Your book was amazing! I really enjoyed reading it and the pictures were breathtaking!
Teamwork, technical competency, honesty. Russian space food is different and it's great to have variety.
First of all, thank you so much for signing my daughter Elowen's book today at 3M.
You've talked about your time as a student, not being particularly interested in science. As a middle school science teacher I'm curious to know what may have changed your mind. What advice would you give to teachers, to help motivate disinterested students to be passionate about science?
I was inspired by the book "The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe. All kids are different and it's a challenge to find out what inspires each kid.
Also while in space if you weren't busy on research what would you do in your spare time? And did you pick up any habits in space that you brought back to earth?
Part of our job is research, part is taking care of the space station to live and work up there. It takes time. I didn't have an incredible amount of spare time, but when I did, I wrote, I read. When I go camping my space habits are very present - keep track of your stuff and your trash, don't lose anything, etc...
Much thanks Commander Kelly, this is quite possibly one of my most looked forward to AMA’s. I do have quite a few questions to ask an astronaut of your caliber but I want to keep this one fairly general and allow you to speak both from experience and personality.
The question being, what would be your opinion on the infamous Fermi Paradox? Do you think it’s likely that we’re alone in the universe as intelligent life, or do you rather subscribe to other theories such as Zoo Theory or the Great Filter.
If possible, I would love to use your answer as an opinionated source for a project I’m currently doing for English in which I am discussing the Fermi Paradox and the likely future for manned space travel.
Much thanks Commander Kelly, and it’s great to have you back on the ground.
I think it's likely there is intelligent life in the universe. Although I'm not a big believer in the idea aliens have visited Earth.
What are your thoughts on the whole SLS vs private launches debate? Also, thanks for doing this AMA Sir.
I think there is a place for government and industry for space flight. There are ways they can compliment each other.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming next Mars Rover mission?
It's exciting! Anytime we go to Mars it's a great day.
Commander Kelly, I was a little late to your last AMA but I just wanted to thank you for all the wonderful photos you shared during your year in space. It was always a treat to have one show up in my feed. Do you have a favorite?
Enjoy the rest of your day
Are you coming to Ohio anytime soon? I would love to bring my kids to hear you speak! Also, are there any good jobs at NASA for a space junkie with no science experience? I do have a Master's degree in International Studies however!
No plans in the near future in Ohio. If I do have a public event, I'll post it on my website (www.scottkelly.com). There are all types of jobs at NASA even for those without a science background.
Thank you so much for doing this Commander Kelly! Since you want to talk about the impact of science, how has science impacted your life the most? (Other than going to space and your work with NASA). Additionally, what was your favorite project you worked on at NASA?
Science impacts our lives everyday because nearly everything we have is due to science. My favorite project was the year in space mission. I really liked working on an experiment that involved mice to help us learn how space affects the body.
Why space? Why not chemistry or physics or another area of science?
Because I thought being an astronaut would be exciting and challenging.
Has anyone ever gotten you confused with the singer/guitarist from the band Neurosis also named Scott Kelly?
No but I'm aware of who he is because we share a name. We have never met.
Settle the debate... is the earth flat or not ?
Not. I flew A-ROUND it. And if it was flat, wouldn't the edge be the most popular vacation destination.
A lot of astronauts -- Chris Hadfield springs to mind, among others -- have talked about how seeing Earth from space changes their perspective on life on Earth. Did you have a similar experience your first time up?
View HistoryShare Link