American astronaut Scott Kelly, who returned to Earth last month after almost a year in space, is to write a book chronicling his record-breaking mission at the International Space Station (ISS).
The autobiographical account, entitled “Endurance: My Year in Space and Our Journey to Mars” and to be published by Alfred A. Knopf, will not only tell Mr. Kelly’s own story, but will also consider the future of space travel.
The astronaut announced his retirement nine days after the mission ended, but he now holds the record for the most total time spent in space, having spent more than 520 days aboard spacecraft.
Kelly's book "will tell the story of his journey to space and his life aboard the ISS. He will also recount the obstacles he encountered along the way – his early struggles in school (where he was a C-student), his training as a Navy test pilot, and the work required to become an astronaut (and live in space for one year)," reported the Los Angeles Times.
Mr. Kelly himself expressed enthusiasm for the project on his Twitter feed, saying he was "excited to share this incredible #YearInSpace experience."
The American spent 340 consecutive days aboard the space station, alongside Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, orbiting 240 miles above the Earth.
Kelly is the first American to stay in space for so long. Kelly and Mr. Kornienko are the first humans to do so since 1999, when Russian cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev last spent a year in microgravity aboard the Russian space station Mir, according to NASA. The all-time record belongs to cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days on Mir from 1994-1995.
Shortly before returning from this latest mission, Kelly expressed mixed emotions as his final days in space tumbled to a close:
"I'll probably never see it again," Kelly told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, referring to the space station. "I've flown in space four times now, so it's going to be hard in that respect, but I certainly look forward to going back to Earth. 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 has been something of an experiment for NASA, not only in analyzing the effects of a year spent in space, but also in comparing him with his twin brother, who remained with his feet planted on terra firma and acted as a control subject.
Tracking the changes in Scott Kelly will help scientists understand how the body reacts to a long mission in space, which is instrumental to the future of human space travel, particularly for long missions to Mars.
And this forms the second major subject area for Kelly's forthcoming book – advocating more space travel, both privately funded and government-sponsored.
"There are few aspects of everyday life that aren’t touched by the technologies developed for space travel," writes Kelly, "but these innovations aren’t the only benefits of spaceflight.... The superhuman accomplishment of innovation, perseverance, and cooperation carried out by thousands of Americans working towards one audacious goal speaks for itself."