Two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut returned to Earth from the International Space Station today.
They left behind a skeleton crew to maintain the outpost until replacements arrive later this month.
Outgoing station commander Pavel Vinogradov, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin touched down in Kazakhstan just before 9am local time (4am Irish time), ending a more than five-month stay on the ISS.
Despite fatigue from their long trip, the space travellers sat for questions at an airport near their landing site.
Mr Cassidy said he did not think a trip to Mars was in his immediate plans.
"Oh, I think Mars is a long way to wait, and I'd love to go but we'll see what's in store for us. Maybe Sasha and I will go to Mars together sometime."
Before leaving the ISS, Mr Vinogradov, a veteran of three space flights, transferred command of the $100bn station, a project of 15 nations, to fellow cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who remains aboard with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA's Karen Nyberg.
The crew even celebrated his 61st birthday before he left.
"Well, we had a very modest celebration. This was a standard working day for us. Of course, the whole crew gathered together in the evening.
"They congratulated me early in the morning, Sasha (Misurkin) even had presents for me," Mr Vinogradov said.
Following medical checks, Mr Vinogradov and Mr Misurkin will be flown to Star City near Moscow.
Mr Cassidy will fly on a NASA jet back to the Johnson Space Centre in Houston.
A replacement space station crew, headed by veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and including rookies Sergey Ryazanskiy and Mike Hopkins, is due to launch on 25 September.