It’s lonely out in space. That’s what former astronaut Scott Kelly found each of the three times he left his family to live and work on the International Space Station.
In space, routine chores that seem very simple on Earth—cleaning the bathroom, making a minor repair—have life-and-death consequences. The pressure is relentless.
Over time, Kelly found that the best strategy for managing the solitude and stress was to seek perspective.
One of the perks of serving on the space station is its spectacular views. Kelly often gazed out the windows to look at his home planet and think about life.
During Kelly’s second mission, he received terrible news from Earth: his sister-in-law Gabrielle Giffords was badly injured in a mass shooting. He described the hours she spent in surgery as some of the longest of his life. But Kelly survived the wait. And so did Giffords. The next day, Kelly led the United States in a moment of silence from space.
He said, “Those of us who have had the privilege to look down on the Earth from space get the chance to take a larger perspective on the planet and the people who share it. I feel more strongly than ever that we must be better.”
Find more perspective in our Instaread on Kelly’s memoir, ENDURANCE.