A Year in Space Rekindles Skyward Interests

By Scott Spangler on November 4th, 2019

kelly windowTo be honest, my interest in extraterrestrial explorations waned with the establishment of the International Space Station. Sometimes I felt guilty about this, usually when I watched the luminous dot race across the night sky (forewarned by an Astroextra issued during the evening weather report on WBAY). And then, after the final episode of the Great British Baking Show’s final episode last Friday, I wandered through Netflix land and discovered A Year in Space, 12 episodes (all running less than 15 minutes) that documented the record ISS residency of Scott Kelly and Mikhail “Misha” Kornienko.

I couldn’t turn it off.

Hmmm. Perhaps my waning interest was not the result of wandering interests or a depreciating attention span but rather the consequence of mundane story telling. Like everyone else today who is drowning in the media ocean were every drop vies for our clicking attention, I rarely waste my most valuable resource watching or reading anything that does not pique my curiosity and desire to learn more in the first chapter or episode.

one-year-crew-landing-aLike I said, I could not turn off A Year in Space, and my wife was equally rapt.

Time Studios covered the year in a dozen episodes that are a visual master class in clear, concise, comprehensive, and compelling story telling. It revealed the personal side of the mission as well as the professional with an unbiased lens focused on the American and Russian protagonists.

The fascinating examination of the Russian space program was an unexpected surprise. Seeing Star City is much more interesting and telling than reading about it, especially when some of the people who work and live there are telling you about it. Despite some unspoken pleasure in remembering some of the Russian I learned in high school, subtitles thankfully told most of the story.

kelly soyuzNear the end of the series A Year in Space introduced the aeromedical study that compared Scott Kelly with Mark, his identical twin who is also an astronaut, upon his return to Earth. Replaying visual vignettes from the series as I search here for the right words, it is clear that the series presented a wealth of information that felt as expansive as the space through with the ISS flies. The only claustrophobia came with the shots of the the three spacefarers crammed into the Soyuz capsule for their return to Earth. –Scott Spangler, Editor

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