Watch Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 8pm on WMHT TV
Despite the technological “comforts” of the ISS, a year in space – the longest space mission in American history – has been described as the epitome of extreme, with extraordinarily high physical stakes. Following Scott in space and his identical twin Mark Kelly at home on Earth, the specials will tell the story of what it takes, mentally and physically, to spend a year in space and then, using what NASA has learned from the Kelly brothers, what it means for humanity as we journey to Mars and beyond.
In the Kelly brothers, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a near-perfect, two-person sample group for biomedical research. NASA is closely tracking Scott’s physical and emotional changes, and his biological functions, down to the molecular level while he is in orbit. The agency hopes to identify precisely what changes happened to Scott as a result of 12 months in space by comparing him to his identical twin, Mark, on Earth. What NASA learns about how Scott withstands the physical and psychological difficulties will provide scientists with key data to develop methods of overcoming the challenges of human interplanetary travel.
Viewers will witness the rigors of Scott’s training to live in space for an entire year and will get to know his family and their dreams, stresses, fears and loves. Interwoven into the series’ compelling personal story, A YEAR IN SPACE will also delve into the broader historical context of the mission, including the history of space exploration, the political background of the Russian-US relationship – Scott’s compatriot at the start of the mission is Russian astronaut Mikhail Korniyenk – and the science/engineering conundrums posed by interplanetary space travel.
The second episode of A YEAR IN SPACE – scheduled to air in 2017 – will follow what happens to Scott Kelly as he returns to life on Earth. Once back on the ground, NASA will study what happens to the mind and body during and after long-duration space travel. Part two of A YEAR IN SPACE also will explore the future of humanity’s attempts to live beyond Earth. What will it take – technically and socially – to travel to and establish outposts on other planets, moons and asteroids?