Former astronaut Captain Scott Kelly drew schools from around the state to the Hutchinson Sports Arena on April 17, 2018. Students and spectators anxiously awaited the message that Kelly was
presenting after spending three-hundred and forty consecutive days in space. Kelly pulled the crowd to the edge of their seat as he took spectators on a ride of their life while describing his record-setting voyage.
In 2016, Kelly returned from the International Space Station with his Russian partner Mikhail Kornienk. Kelly’s time in space was significant to Americans as astronaut Mark Kelly, Scott Kelly’s identical twin, has spent a total of fifty days in space while Scott has accumulated more than five hundred days. The two brothers pave the way for future exploration as NASA is conducting a study to understand the effects space has on the human body.
Scott believes one of the most difficult parts of space travel is stepping up to “do the hard things while overcoming challenges.” Hearts were set aflame in the arena as Scott pointed out overcoming challenges is an important part of life. “You don’t have to go to space to do the hard stuff,” said Scott. He emphasized that there are hard things in each of our day-to-day lives and it is up to you to overcome these challenges by taking risks.
Kelly’s key motivation came from a book by Tom Wolf called “The Right Stuff.” If it was not for that glimmering moment of realization and hope, Kelly may not have joined the navy and pursued space travel. His experiences have led Kelly to unexpected ventures and expeditions.
“There are no aliens in Area 51,” chuckled Kelly, “we just moved them all to Area 52.” Kelly’s sense of humor struck the audience with laughter throughout his awe-inspiring stories and personal experiences of testing the limits of life. Although there were difficult times for Kelly, he was humbled and proud to be apart of the groundbreaking experience. Through social media, Kelly has found a way to share his views and experiences with the world.
To really know what it feels like to be an astronaut, Kelly described essential moments of space travel such as take off, “It feels like the hand of God is picking you up,” said Scott. Around the audience, eyes widened and mouths dropped as dreamers of all ages took on the experiences of space travel and the ambition to achieve their dreams.