Marathon Man

Capt. Scott Kelly has traveled 143 million miles in space, including 340 days as mission commander on the International Space Station studying the long-term effects of space travel on humans. He came to Santa Barbara and thrilled audiences with 3 appearances relating his story and philosophy with a great mix of humor, humility and instructive information accompanied by stunning photos and video clips from space. In each appearance he varied the presentation a bit, so much fascinating information did he have to impart, tailoring each to the audience at hand. For the 5th & 6th grade and Dos Pueblos high school students there was a little more emphasis on the value of hard work, setting goals and learning from failures. The audience for the evening show at the Granada got a slightly less instructive performance. All three appearances were filled with funny anecdotes and very interesting facts about space travel coming from someone who has logged more days doing it than any other American.

An interesting contrast between the high-schoolers and the younger students was revealed by their reactions to a story he told both audiences. Women don’t develop a problem with vision that affects men after prolonged exposure to weightlessness, and Kelly observed that maybe those chosen for the first expedition to Mars should all be women. The 1,500 5th and 6th graders at the Granada Theatre erupted in cheers and applause, many fist-pumping the air. Same story with the engineering students at Dos Pueblos, many of them female – no reaction.