German astronaut Matthias Maurer still hopes to fly to the moon on one of the US-led “Artemis” missions. "These moon flights are the opportunity of our generation. I would be very happy and will do everything to be ready," said the astronaut from the European space agency Esa to the German Press Agency.
However, it is not yet clear whether there will be a European visit to the moon any time soon. A flight with an ESA astronaut is currently not planned for the "Artemis 2" mission planned for the end of 2024 nor for the "Artemis 3" launch planned for 2025, but only for "Artemis 4" and "Artemis 5", as ESA General Director Josef Aschbacher recently said. And it is still unclear whether he or she will be one of two of the four astronauts on a mission who not only stay in lunar orbit but also enter the Earth companion.
"If I get close to the moon, that's the right direction," said Maurer. “Hopping around on it and exploring it scientifically would of course be the absolute jackpot.” He is eagerly waiting to see whether it will work. “Everyone who has this job is nervous,” said the 53-year-old from Saarland. “Everyone is shuffling their feet somewhere.”
If someone else from the Esa squad flew with them, they could help with the mission on the ground. "We are all team players. If I help other Europeans go to the moon, then I have also achieved something," said Maurer. “But being there yourself would of course be a step better.”