Scott Kelly Answers Questions in Denver


On Thursday, October 19, The Tattered Cover Book Store welcomed Commander Scott Kelly to the Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Denver. He is the American astronaut that spent 1 year in space. Scott answered the questions of Dr. Steve Lee, a Space Scientist from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. About 1,000 people attended the event, and Scott answered a few audience questions at the end. Kelly has written two books now. “My Journey to the Stars” is a kids book that he wrote, and “Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery” is his other book. It just came out last week.

He was asked what the difference was between a Soyuz (a type of Russian spacecraft) and an American Space Shuttle. Apparently, the Soyuz was not his favorite. It is loud, dark, and hot, fueled by liquid kerosene. He said that taking off in the Soyuz is like going over Niagara Falls, on fire. It is hot because the window is only 5 inches from your face, and there is 3,000 degree heat on the outside of the window while you are leaving the atmosphere.

Scott went into space 4 times. 8 days on a space shuttle, then 13 days on a space shuttle. He went onto the ISS (International Space Station) twice. One time for 139 days, and one time for 348 days. This makes a total of over 500 days in space. He holds the record for longest time in space, and most consecutive days in space achieved by an American astronaut. Scott claims that space food is not bad, but meals are a pain. For example, having to tape your spoon to the table. Kelly says that spacewalks are hard. “There are two types of fun, type 1 and type 2.” Type 1 is the kind of fun that is fun in the moment, like a roller coaster. Type two is the type of fun that is fun when it’s done, a relieved kind of fun looking back on what you just did. Space walks are a type 2 of fun.

Even falling asleep in space is hard. This is because, on land, it takes effort to counteract gravity all day (stay up). However, in space, there is no energy change between laying down and standing up, so you are less tired, which makes it harder to fall asleep. Also, cosmic radiation hitting the retina in your eye can keep you up. This makes splashes of light appear in your eyes even when they are closed.

This was an awesome experience, and if you ever see that he is doing another one of these events, then I think you should go. It was an inspiring and humorous experience, and I wish that more than a thousand people could have experienced it.