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Coming Home: A Look Back at Scott Kelly's Year in Space

Astronaut Scott Kelly has completed his nearly year-long mission aboard the international space station.

Many of us may dream of going to space, but for a year? That's a long time to be "sitting in a tin can," as the David Bowie song goes, even if it's one as big as the International Space Station.

Scott Kelly left Earth in March 2015 and except for some spacewalks, has been aboard the International Space station ever since. He and Russian cosmonaut are returning to Earth on March 1 having spent 340 days in space. The unprecedented length of the mission allowed researchers to study the physical and psychological challenges astronauts face during long-duration spaceflight.

Above: The Soyuz spacecraft detaches from the International Space Station on March 1 as it carries American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko back to Earth after their nearly yearlong stay at the station.

NASA TV

Scott Kelly uses a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, on March 4, 2015.

NASA/Bill Ingalls / (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Retired NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly, left, fist pumps his identical twin brother, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, through glass as Scott Kelly participates in a press conference while in quarantine at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on March 26, 2015.

To maximize the knowledge gained from Scott's mission, NASA also studied his brother, who remained on Earth. Since they're identical twins, researchers had a first-of-a-kind chance to understand how the human body changes in space.

Mark Kelly flew four space shuttle missions and commanded the final flight of space shuttle Endeavour.

The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft launches to the International Space Station with Expedition 43 NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, Russian Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko, and Gennady Padalka at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 28, 2015. Bill Ingalls/NASA / Getty Images
From his perch aboard the International Space Station, Scott Kelly has frequently dazzled us with the views he's captured of the Earth. Here, the lights of the Aurora Borealis dance over the Pacific northwest on Jan. 20, 2016. Scott Kelly / NASA

Kelly's pictures of the Earth's surface can veer from subdued monochromes to startling explosions of color and often look like abstract art, a resemblance Kelly acknowledges with the hastag #EarthArt. It's a great reminder of how diverse the Earth's topography is.

Above: Astronaut Scott Kelly posted this photo of Australia taken from the International Space Station on Twitter with the caption, "#EarthArt A single pass over the #Australian continent. Picture 16 of 17," on Oct. 13, 2015.

Gallery: Astronaut Tweets Startling Views of Australia

Scott Kelly / NASA
The Cygnus spacecraft approaches the International Space Station on, Dec. 9, 2015, in this image shot by astronaut Scott Kelly. At right is the station's robot arm. The capsule brought over 3 tons of cargo. Scott Kelly / AP
Scott Kelly performs a spacewalk on Dec. 21, 2015. Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra successfully moved the International Space Station's mobile transporter rail car ahead of the docking of a Russian cargo supply spacecraft. HO / AFP - Getty Images
Astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted this picture of the Great Lakes from the International Space Station on June 24. Scott Kelly / NASA
Kelly tweeted a picture of Hurricane Patricia approaching Mexico on Oct. 23, saying "It's massive. Be careful!" Scott Kelly / NASA
The Expedition 45 crew gathers inside the Destiny laboratory to celebrate the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station on Nov. 2. Front row: Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui (left) and NASA astronauts Scott Kelly (middle) and Kjell Lindgren. Back row: Russian cosmonauts Sergey Volkov (left), Oleg Kononenko (middle) and Mikhail Kornienko (right). Yui is seen holding the mission patch for Expedition 1 which arrived at the station on Nov. 2, 2000.
The bright colors of the Bahamas are captured in this view from Jan. 19. Kelly captures most of these views from the cupola, a seven-windowed dome on the space station that offers panoramic views of Earth. Scott Kelly / NASA
Kelly captures an instant before sunrise from the International Space Station on Nov. 5.
Mark Kelly, left, gives himself a flu shot at the Johnson Space Center in Houston during testing in support of the Twin Studies while Scott gives himself a flu shot aboard the space station on Sept. 24. Since they're identical twins, researchers have a first-of-a-kind chance to understand how the human body changes in space. NASA
A giant snowstorm looms over the eastern United States on Jan. 23. The blizzard brought much of the East Coast to a standstill. Scott Kelly / AP
Kelly poses on July 12 inside the Cupola, which provides a 360-degree viewing of the Earth and the International Space Station. Scott Kelly / NASA
Kelly works outside of the International Space Station during a spacewalk on Nov. 6. Kelly and fellow NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren restored the port truss (P6) ammonia cooling system to its original configuration and returned ammonia to the desired levels in both the prime and back-up systems. The spacewalk lasted for seven hours and 48 minutes.
Clouds hover above their shadows in this image from Aug. 7. Scott Kelly / NASA
"Sometimes a little light makes all the difference," said Kelly when he tweeted this picture on Oct. 13. Scott Kelly / NASA
The Earth is viewed from the cupola onboard the space station on May 14. Scott Kelly / NASA
Kelly tries on his spacesuit inside the airlock of the station on Oct. 26. NASA
Kelly tweeted this picture on Aug. 16, day 142 of his stay. Scott Kelly / NASA
Kelly corrals the supply of fresh fruit that arrived on the Kounotori 5 H-II Transfer Vehicle on Aug. 25. Visiting cargo ships often carry a small cache of fresh food for crew members aboard the International Space Station.
Kelly tweeted this view, saying "The color psychology of orange is optimistic. From my view things are looking up down there." Scott Kelly / NASA
Kelly tweeted this image of bodies of water on the East Coast of the U.S. on April 26. Scott Kelly / NASA

One-year mission crew members Scott Kelly of NASA (left) and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko celebrate their 300th consecutive day in space on Jan. 21. The pair was to spend a total of 340 days aboard the International Space Station as scientists sought to understand what happens to the human body while in microgravity for extreme lengths of time.

Russia's Soyuz TMA-18M space capsule carrying the International Space Station crew members prepares to land in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, March 2.

Video: Astronaut Scott Kelly returns to Earth after nearly a year in space

Kirill Kudryavtsev / Pool via AP
A search and rescue team works at the site of landing of the Soyuz TMA-18M space capsule carrying the International Space Station crew of U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergei Volkov outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on March 2. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP - Getty Images

Ground personnel help U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly down from the Soyuz TMA-18M space capsule after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, March 2. Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth on Wednesday after spending almost a year in space in a ground-breaking experiment foreshadowing a potential manned mission to Mars.

Gallery: Month in Space: February 2016

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / Pool via AP