Having a video chat with the International Space Station is a little harder than just going online and booting up Skype. It takes a lot of bandwidth and a lot of planning—but it’s always worth the effort.
Friday at 12:35 p.m. EST, TIME editor-at-large Jeffrey Kluger talked with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korneinko and American astronaut Scott Kelly as they flew 250 miles overhead at a brisk 17,500 mph (28,200 k/h).
Kelly and Kornienko have been aboard the station for a total of 314 days, and are not scheduled to come home until March 1, when they will have completed nearly a year in space.
The purpose of the marathon mission is a straightforward one: to help determine if the human body can withstand the rigors of prolonged exposure to zero-g—a question that must be answered if humankind is ever to fulfill the longstanding dream of traveling to Mars.
In Friday’s live chat, TIME asked Kelly and Kornienko about their lives in space and their mental state as their mission comes to an end—whether they’re counting the days until they come home, how they packed for a year in space, and what the most fascinating (and most boring) parts of their mission have been.
Our conversation with the station is part of TIME’s yearlong coverage of the Kelly-Kornienko mission, which has included half a dozen serialized web videos, 111 online stories, ongoing coverage in TIME magazine and more.
Kluger and the rest of the TIME team will be returning to Kazakhstan at the end of the month to cover the astronauts’ return. Watch today’s chat, and stay with TIME and Time.com for more coverage of this unique biomedical experiment.