Astronaut Scott Kelly: In Space, You Can't See Political Divides

By Chloe Aiello

Astronaut Scott Kelly saw the sun rise and set about 32 times each day during the 520 total days he spent in outer space. He also spent considerable time looking at Planet Earth. Naturally, it changed his perspective ー in the most literal sense.

"You do get more in tune with the environmental issues when you see that our atmosphere is very fragile looking, very small ... you see pollution over certain parts of the planet. You see the Earth with no political borders between countries," Kelly told Cheddar Friday.

"That makes it seem like, you know, we're are all in this together ー this thing called humanity ー and we need to work together to solve our problems."

That's the perspective Kelly shares through images in his latest book, "Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut's Photographs from a Year in Space." The book contains Kelly's personal photography, which captures the Earth and Moon, sunrises and sunsets, and even life aboard the International Space Station, where Kelly spent so many hours.

But as awe-inspiring as his photos may be, there's nothing quite like the real thing. But Kelly said we're closer than we realize to space ー especially with Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk on the case.

Kelly said he had the chance to visit Bezos' aerospace company Blue Origin a little over one year ago.

"They are absolutely serious. They are not kidding around. They are going to be flying people in space pretty soon, and I think it's a great thing," Kelly said.

Bezos has said his company hoped to begin ferrying humans to outer-space in 2018 ー with the eventual goal of regularly transporting wealthy tourists in suborbital flight. Billionaire entrepreneur Musk's SpaceX also has radically ambitious space aspirations, including a mission to Mars in 2022 and a tour around the Moon Musk reportedly arranged for tourists as early as 2018. The Moon trip has yet to happen.

Kelly said it doesn't really matter who transports civilians to space first.

"I don't look at it as a race who will be flying people in space first, whether it's SpaceX or Blue Origin, I think it'll probably all be around the same time, actually," he said.

Kelly would certainly know better than most.

For full interview click here.

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