14 photos from Scott Kelly's year in space that will take your breath away

The astronaut's best pics as he heads back to Earth

If you're like me, then you've got a few hours of downtime before Scott Kelly completes his journey back to Earth after spending an eye-watering 340 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS). (Update: He's back!).

Kelly, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, has spent the longest amount of time aboard the ISS ever. Kelly also holds the American record for most days in space.

While he was up there doing important astronaut stuff that will, among other things, one day help humans travel to Mars, he also became a social media sensation with 898,000 Instagram followers, 946,785 Likes on Facebook and 949,000 Twitter followers.

His pictures captured the wonders of Earth from 249 miles high, and gave those of us down below a view of our planet and space that we wouldn't have had otherwise, served with a healthy dose of inspirational messages on the side.

NASA put together a few of Kelly's best shots over on Flickr, but below you'll find some of the most stunning photos Kelly took while traveling at 17,150 miles per hour, along with the post he wrote to go along them. It was hard to pick just 14 - trust me.

Aurora

Kelly wrote: #goodmorning #aurora and the Pacific Northwest! #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Planet Water

Kelly wrote: Sad to learn of the death of musician [David Bowie] whose inspiration lives on 'far above the world' #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

South America

Kelly wrote: #EarthArt #SouthAmerica #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Africa

Kelly wrote: Africa. #EarthArt Earth without art is just Eh. #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Aleutian Islands

Kelly wrote: Aleutian island #volcano letting off a little steam after the new year. #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Star Wars

Kelly wrote: Day 265. Soon will I rest. Earned it I have. Twilight is upon me. #Yoda #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Canadian rockies

Kelly wrote: Closed windows b4 sleep [and] saw this stunning view of the #CanadianRockies! #GoodNight frm Space Station #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Earth Art

Kelly wrote: #EarthArt Our planet seems to have a sense of humor at times. #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Himalayan Frozen lake

Kelly wrote: Cool frozen lake in #Himalayas! #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Chicago

Kelly wrote: #Aurora and all that jazz over #Chicago city lights. #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Milky Way

Kelly wrote: #MilkyWay. You're old, dusty, gassy and warped. But beautiful. Good night from @space_station! #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Southeast Asia

Kelly wrote: Just took this stunning picture of #SouthEastAsia. #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Snow

Kelly wrote: #ColorsofEarth Snow white. #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

Hero

Kelly wrote: #goodnight #Earth! Make me proud and I'll try and do the same. #YearInSpace (Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

News Editor (US)

As the US News Editor, Michelle (Twitter, Google+) keeps her eye on all things tech with particular interest on phones, tablets and finding out who the people are behind the devices. Any phone that can survive a regular (accidental) drop has her vote for best handset. Michelle previously worked covering local news in the Bay Area and has been with TechRadar since July 2012.