• By The Financial District


Scott Kelly was in his home doing the things a retired astronaut does (and all of us are doing!) during a pandemic: thinking about going for a hike in the state park nearby, or what he might watch on TV tonight, KCRA 3 News reported.

His daughter, who is 26, called to chat.

“She was complaining about how she has no social life,” Kelly said.

He had to smile at this, at least to himself. Kelly, 56 was always the little kid’s heroic vision of an astronaut: brave, stoic, and strong. He could withstand anything, and did — including 340 consecutive days in space, the American record. But of his superpowers, the one most useful today is not the ability to endure space debris rocketing toward his head at 35,000 miles an hour.

It is his ability to be alone without losing his mind.

“Samantha, you need to understand that’s the case for everybody on the planet,” he told his daughter.

“Immediately she was like, ‘Oh, yeah! That’s true, isn’t it? I feel so much better,’” he said.

Kelly thinks a lot about isolation these days, and he his using his unique experience of it to help not only his daughter but everyone he possibly can.