Politics no problem, say US and Russian spacefarers

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (R) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of Russia pose after a press conference on December 18, 2014 in ParisUS-Russian ties may have returned to Cold War levels, but an astronaut and a cosmonaut gearing up for the longest flight on the International Space Station said Thursday politics would not disrupt their work of helping a future trip to Mars. NASA’s Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are to launch to the ISS in 2015 for a year-long stay designed to be a test-bed for a future trip to Mars. The ISS is a rare area of US-Russian cooperation that has not been hit by the Ukrainian crisis, which has prompted Washington to impose sanctions on Moscow. Their spell will be the longest stay aboard the ISS since the orbital outpost in space was manned in 2000.

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