I don’t care how witty a Twitter quipper you fancy yourself, there is zero possibility your feed is more captivating than astronaut Scott Kelly’s has been over the past year during his #YearInSpace. This is earth art in every sense of the word.
Last week, Captain Kelly completed almost a year’s work (340 days – the previous record of time spent in space was 215 days) on the International Space Station (ISS) and landed back on earth, somewhere in Kazakhstan.
What is very unique about this experiment is that Scott has an identical twin (Mark Kelly) here on earth who has been scientifically considered the “control” and a comparative physiology here on earth the entire time!
No doubt, scientists will sift through and compare the hard data gathered, about the effects of prolonged space missions upon the human body and mind, for years.
The experiment will provide scientists with hard data about the effects of prolonged space missions upon the human body and mind.
While this is an extraordinary mission with that accomplishment alone, there was another gem in the mix: Captain Kelly, while 250 miles above Earth, posted one photo per day on Instagram and Twitter with the apt hashtag, #EarthArt.
Here’s a quote from a great National Geographic Article I found on the topic that points to why we should care about this:
“At the end of the day, space exploration is all about the human experience. Scott has not only shared his journey with the world, but he has also engaged with the public,” wrote John Yembrick, NASA’s social media manager. “Through Scott’s own efforts, space exploration has become more relatable, more accessible.” 1
Even if you’ve seen some articles on this, take a look. I took a few hours the other day to go through all the images I could find, to bring you the ones the EWC team found most breathtaking.
Also, at the end of this piece, I have a little gem I’ve found, that puts this all into perspective. See what you think.
Now here are some of Scott Kelly’s images that are truly earth art:
At first, I was a little overwhelmed by this perspective, and it was hard for me to formulate a solid takeaway message from these images.
Then they reminded me of a famous quote from Carl Sagan when he saw the image of the earth taken by the Voyager space probe: a tiny speck of dust, framed in a sunbeam.
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer… every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam…
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
― Carl Sagan,
Not sure I’ve got much to say after letting the magnitude of all this soak in.
If you want to hear astronauts describing for themselves what it is like to see Earth from space, check out the article we wrote on the subject just a few weeks ago!
Just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few of my favorite articles that continue some of the trains of thought here!
Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda
- Greshko, Michael. “15 Amazing Photos from Astronaut Scott Kelly’s Year in Space.” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 29 Feb. 2016. Web. 07 Mar. 2016. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160229-scott-kelly-nasa-astronaut-space-year-pictures-photography/>. ↩