Space travel: Astronaut Gerst would like to take photos on the moon

German astronaut Alexander Gerst would like to take photos on the moon.

Space travel: Astronaut Gerst would like to take photos on the moon

German astronaut Alexander Gerst would like to take photos on the moon. During his two stays on the international space station ISS, Gerst told dpa on a trip to Washington that he wanted to inspire people with his pictures. "I took about a million pictures and sent many of them around. That was an important element for me, and that's what I would do on a lunar mission."

Gerst is a possible candidate for participation in upcoming lunar missions. The planned US mission “Artemis” will initially orbit the moon. A landing is also planned later. So far, only American astronauts have set foot on the moon; a total of twelve US astronauts flew there on the "Apollo" missions between 1969 and 1972.

Next mission 2025

According to Gerst, the next mission to orbit the moon will take place around 2025, with further missions likely to follow every one or two years once the necessary technology has been developed. Gerst said it was pleasing that, in addition to American, Japanese and Canadian astronauts, Europeans were also there. "If we Europeans also make further contributions, then it is almost certain that we will ultimately be there on the surface too."

Europe will contribute to the next “Artemis” mission with a propulsion module. Regarding a future trip to the moon itself, Gerst said: "We want to contribute a lander that can bring cargo and experiments to the lunar surface."

Gerst and his astronaut colleague Matthias Maurer accompany Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) on a trip to Washington. It's about Europe's continued cooperation with the US space agency NASA, which is "at an all-time high." The “Artemis” missions in particular should play a role.

Opportunity to look into your own past

Regarding the practical use of lunar missions, Gerst said: "Perhaps we will also find traces of early life on Earth on the moon." These could have reached the moon with meteorites from Earth. "This would be a very fascinating way to look into our own past and see things that we can no longer see here on Earth."

But it is also about being able to better assess the dangers of meteorite impacts on Earth and arming yourself against them, for example by redirecting them. There are numerous meteorite craters on the moon, the examination of which could be helpful in assessing the risk to the Earth. In order to discover meteorites early, a telescope on the moon could perhaps be helpful in the future.

When he's on Earth, he misses space travel, Gerst revealed. "Of course, as an astronaut you always feel a little homesick for space." The perspective from space shows how small and vulnerable the Earth appears within the vast cosmos. "There's nothing out there that we can go to that quickly. We don't know of any Planet B."