NC State alum Christina Koch speaks after returning to Earth

National News

(WNCN) — Christina Koch spent her Wednesday afternoon answering questions about her almost year spaceflight six days after returning to Earth. One thing she missed while in space was the beach, one of her favorite places.

“Today is a little rainy, and it actually felt great. I have had a chance to go back to the beach with my husband and our dog, and just being reunited with all of them and experiencing all those different visual and sensory queues were just amazing after having not seen any news for 328 days,” said Koch.

Her 328 days are the second-longest time for an American in space, coming shy by only 12 days of matching Scott Kelly’s record. Koch says the hardest thing to describe to people back on Earth is simply looking out the window. She circled Earth 5,200, and she says that brought about a new vantage point for her.

“I think just the multitude of emotions that you feel when you look back at Earth. You know, I can explain that it brought perspective – that it helped me see what it meant to be our place in the universe, that it helped me to see that all humans are inherently the same, that we have more that unites us than makes us different,” Koch stated.

Her mission was an important one as NASA prepares to send astronauts to Mars. She was tasked with finding how the microgravity environment affects women compared to men.

“No one necessarily knows,” Koch explained. “Male and female physiology is very different in ways that we are discovering here on Earth, so to extrapolate that out to the space environment was really what we were looking to do.”

If Koch has inspired you, NASA is currently recruiting the next generation of astronauts, and the deadline to apply is March 2.

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