NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency have chosen two men, Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, to spend one year aboard the International Space Station. Both men will launch to the ISS aboard a Soyuz rocket in the Spring of 2015 and will land in the Spring of 2016. William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington congratulated Scott and Mikhail and said, “Their skills and previous experience aboard the space station align with the mission’s requirements. The one-year increment will expand the bounds of how we live and work in space and will increase our knowledge regarding the effects of microgravity on humans as we prepare for future missions beyond low-Earth orbit.” The current average stay aboard the space station is approximately six months. One main purpose of their year-long mission is to determine “how the body will react and adapt to the harshness of space” according to the NASA website. It’s necessary to determine how the human body reacts if there is to eventually be a manned mission to Mars. In addition, it’s equally important to determine how to counteract any of the negative impacts in the weightless environment of space. We already know that muscle mass breaks down more quickly, which is why there’s a daily regimen of exercise aboard the space station. Unless man can figure out how to improve rocket propulsion to greatly enhance the speed of the rocket, a round trip journey would take more than one year. Currently, a one way journey to Mars can take anywhere between five and ten months, but there are a number of variables such as the alignment of the earth with Mars and speed of the ship. The best case scenario for a launch to Mars occurs every two years; when the Earth and Mars are closest in their orbits.