One-year spaceman sees mission as ‘steppingstone’ to Mars

NASA Mars

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – NASA’s first and only yearlong spaceman will go through a series of physical and medical tests as soon as he returns from the International Space Station in a few days.

Astronaut Scott Kelly will take a crack at a mini-obstacle course and attempt to walk a straight line. It’s all so researchers can see whether he’d be able to hit the ground running if this were Mars instead of Earth.

NASA considers it crucial prep work for future Mars explorers who will spend much longer in space.

Kelley’s 340-day mission comes to a dramatic end Wednesday on the remote steppes of Kazakhstan. He will ride a Soyuz spacecraft back with two Russians, including Mikhail Kornienko, his roommate for the past year.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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