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(NEW YORK) — An unprecedented NASA experiment began on Friday, with Astronaut Scott Kelly and a pair of Russian cosmonauts blasting off, bound for the International Space Station, where Kelly will spend the next year.

Kelly and his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark, will be human guinea pigs. While Scott spends the year in space, Mark will remain on the ground. NASA hopes to compare what happens to the bodies and brains of the two men in such different environments.

The launch took place on Friday afternoon, with video inside the rocket showing Kelly giving a thumbs up.

Beforehand, Kelly posted a photo to Instagram showing him closing up shop for the next year.


Shutting down my office for a while. #ISS1year #iss #office #nasa #jsc #timetogo

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on Feb 15, 2015 at 10:42am PST


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