Twin astronauts to speak at UA April 12

Retired NASA astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly / Courtesy

Wanna hang out with some a couple of dudes who’ve been to space? You’ll get the chance this spring at the University of Arkansas.

Retired NASA astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly are set to appear at Bud Walton Arena at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12.

The Kelly’s are identical twins who both advanced to the rank of captain in the US navy, and served as fighter pilots before later joining NASA’s space program. According to a press release issued by the UA this week, they’re the only siblings who have both traveled to space.

The Kelly’s will give a lecture at the UA entitled To Infinity and Beyond! Extraordinary Life Lessons from the Kelly Brothers.

The brothers have both had interesting careers. Mark Kelly flew 39 combat missions for the navy during the first Gulf War, and four space shuttle missions. He retired in 2011 to help his wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, with her recovery from an assassination attempt.

Scott Kelly flew two missions on the space shutte, and served as commander of the International Space Station on three missions. On his third mission, he spent 340 consecutive days on the space station as part of an experiment on spending an extended time living in space (Mark participated in this study as well, but spent his time on earth, and scientists studied the differences in their bodies.)

The lecture will take place at Bud Walton Arena, and is part of the UA’s Distinguished Lecture Series, a student-sponsored program that brings interesting speakers to town each year. Past speakers include Bill Nye, Brandon Stanton, Abby Wambach, and others.

The lecture is free to attend, and open to the public. No tickets are required.