After 340 days, 10,944 sunsets and sunrises, and over 143 million miles traveled aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Scott Kelly has finally come home.
His ride — a Russian space capsule called Soyuz TMA-18M — touched down in the middle of the desert-like steppes of Kazakhstan on Tuesday, March 1 at 11:26 p.m. ET.
NASA/ScreenshotIt was right on schedule and hit the "bullseye" of the landing zone, NASA says.
Ground crews fought off members of the press to pull Kelly and his two crewmates, cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov, out of the Soyuz' 6,400-pound descent module.
From there, workers laid the men on chairs as doctors poked and prodded them for health readings.
A textbook landing
There's always a chance something can go (terribly) wrong during a spacecraft landing, but Tuesday night's went right by the book.
The gumdrop-shaped capsule undocked from the ISS at 8:02 p.m. ET, starting an approximately three-hour descent.
A couple hours after undocking, the capsule fired its thrusters to fall out of orbit. When it reached 400,000 feet above the Earth (the ISS orbits at 249 miles), the planet's atmosphere drastically slowed down the Soyuz — from about 17,250 mph to less than 600 mph.
Around 11:10 p.m. ET, the parachutes deployed and further reduced the Soyuz's speed from about 515 mph to roughly 7 mph:
A quick engine burst then safely landed the capsule in a cloud of dust at 11:26 p.m. ET.
Still, those landings on solid ground are never gentle.
"I threw up two or three times" after landing, said Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on a live Periscope feed, describing his previous experience in a Soyuz descent module.
But "there's nothing quite like that first breath of fresh air," Hadfield said.
Kelly certainly seemed happy to be on the ground as doctors tended to him:
A year in space
Kelly's Year in Space mission should get us one step closer to sending humans to Mars.
NASA will compare what happened to him in space with his identical twin, Mark Kelly, who was on Earth the whole time.
Skye Gould/Tech InsiderHumans weren't built to live in space, so it wreaks havoc on our bodies. Microgravity breaks down our bones and tissues, and space radiation can increase our cancer risk.
During his highly publicized mission, Kelly also did an incredible amount of public outreach.
But he wasn't the only one in space for the last year. Russian cosmonaut Kornienko had been aboard the ISS for the entire time, too.
Kornienko, Kelly, and Volkov, a cosmonaut aboard the space station since September 2015, all returned to Earth together Tuesday night.
Kelly will undergo many tests over the coming days and weeks to test how his body changed in space, including ones the minute he gets out of the Soyuz capsule. NASA will also compare those results to his identical twin brother, Mark Kelly.
Hopefully his results can help NASA figure out how to develop better treatments, preventative care, and spacecraft so that humans can go on long-term missions.
Today, the space station. Tomorrow, Mars.