A picture of Senator Bill Nelson
Bill N.
Democrat FL

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  • Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015—Motion to Proceed—Continued

    by Senator Bill Nelson

    Posted on 2016-03-01

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    NELSON. Madam President, I, too, would like to extend my condolences to the family in Colorado and to the Senators from Colorado for their loss.

    Return from Space of Commander Scott Kelly Madam President, I wish to call to the attention of the Senate that tonight, around midnight, we are expecting the return from space of Commander Scott Kelly, who has been in space for almost a year. He has been on the International Space Station for 340 days. It is an experiment regarding not only all of the things he has done in doing experiments--all kinds of physical things--but we are specifically doing a test to compare the effects of zero gravity on the human body for an extended period of time and, of all things, comparing him to his twin brother, an astronaut commander who was in command of the next-to- the-last space shuttle mission in 2011. In that case, it was Commander, now Navy, Retired, Captain Mark Kelly. So we will have an identical twin so NASA can then see the effects of the physical, emotional, and psychological effects, because as we prepare to go all the way to Mars in the decade of the 2030s, there is going to be a lot we are going to have to learn in long-duration space flight, and long duration in zero gravity is going to be one of the things we have to be able to adapt to.

    This Senator was only in space for 6 days. The human body readapts when you get back to Earth fairly quickly. For the long duration, and in this case a year, there is going to be a significant readaptation, as we have seen by some of our Americans who have been up for months and months but nobody as long as a year.

    In the old Soviet program, they put up cosmonauts for a year, and there are changes that occur, but in those intervening years we have become so much more aggressive in how we keep in a physical exercise activity on board the space station, which is what it would be on a Mars mission as well, trying to replicate through stress machines the fact that we don't have gravity, but replicating that, and trying to keep up the bone density and the muscle tone. We have to work at it, and the astronauts on board the space station do that.

    Scott Kelly has been up there for a year, and we will compare that with his identical twin brother Mark Kelly, who has flown several times in the space shuttle.

    I will report to the Senate tomorrow, since he is supposed to return in early morning to Kazakhstan. That is somewhere just before midnight here on eastern time, and I wanted to alert the Senate to this because we are right on the cusp of doing a whole number of things as we prepare to go to Mars. This is certainly one of the significant events, and we will see how Scott Kelly is doing.

    In the meantime, we say Godspeed on his fiery reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. Our hopes and our prayers go with him as he and his crewmates return. I will be able to report to the Senate tomorrow.

    Madam President, I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The Senator from Rhode Island.

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