02 March 2016
At 04:26am today (02 March 2016), NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos landed safely back on Earth.
The crew landed the Soyuz TMA-18M capsule onto the Kazakh Steppe in central Asia at 10:26 local time after successfully completing their mission on the International Space Station (ISS).
Also making a return to Earth was 2kg of rocket seeds which have completed their own six month mission on board the ISS. The seeds were sent up on 02 September on Soyuz TMA-18M and were stored in the Columbus laboratory on board the station.
Over 8,000 schools have applied for a pack of these seeds to grow alongside seeds that have remained on Earth for the Rocket Science mission, a nationwide experiment launched by the UK Space Agency and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
The seeds will now be making their way with Scott Kelly to NASA in Houston before returning to the UK, ready to be packed up and sent out to schools with the Rocket Science packs in April.
Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko of Expedition 46 spent 340 days on board the ISS which is twice the length of a normal mission. The long mission is part of an experiment to study the effect of long-duration spaceflight on the human body and mind. Scott Kelly has an identical twin brother, Mark, who remained on Earth and scientists will now study the two and compare any genetic differences through a series of tests.
For more information on Rocket Science visit the RHS website
(Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)