International Space Station (ISS) crew member Scott Kelly of the U.S. reacts after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. (Krill Kudryavtsev/Pool photo via AP)
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Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth Wednesday after an unprecedented year in space for NASA, landing in barren Kazakhstan with a Russian cosmonaut who shared his whole space station journey.It was a triumphant homecoming for Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko after 340 days in space.Kelly and Kornienko had checked out of the space station 3½ hours earlier.Piloting the Soyuz capsule home for Kelly, 52, and Kornienko, 55, was the much fresher and decade younger cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, whose space station stint lasted the typical six months.Before committing to even longer Mars missions, NASA wants to know the limits of the human body for a year, minus gravity.For NASA, that mission possible is Mars.Scientists are hoping for more one-year subjects as NASA gears up for human expeditions to Mars in the 2030s. Kelly and Kornienko were due to split up later Wednesday. Kelly heads to Houston with two flight surgeons and several other NASA reps, arriving late Wednesday night.
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