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No European has spent more time in space than Alexander Gerst: After almost 200 days aboard the International space station ISS, the Astronaut and geophysicist in the 20’s. December returned from his last Mission to earth. Already in 2014, he was in All. Gerst is the first German who has taken command of the Station. Only a few days after his landing, he gave TIME ONLINE one of his first Interviews.

Zeit ONLINE: Mr Gerst, you have been more than six months in All. You will feel after such a long time alien to the earth?

Alexander Gerst: no, not at all. I have lived 41 years on this earth, and yet a year aboard the space station. In comparison this is a very short period of time – short enough that you acclimated quickly. And it’s not even so that would be a weird feeling. Rather, when you woke up from a long dream.

TIME ONLINE: Hopefully not a nightmare.

Gerst: Definitely not. The balance of the Mission is, in my eyes, is very positive – topped of a great Ride in the Soyuz capsule back to earth.

Zeit ONLINE: Still, you have quoted in the last few weeks, in All a heart-Verse of the poet Charles Bukowski and an emotional message to her unborn grandchildren is broadcast. It is sentimental after so many months in space?

Gerst: no. In particular, the message to the grandchildren, and I wanted to record actually, last Time, but since the time was missing to me. This time I had something free, and the message is created. Primarily it is intended for myself, or for my grandchildren.

TIME ONLINE: Nevertheless, you have published the Video on the Internet and not for the future of the family kept under wraps. Why?

Gerst: Because I wanted to put in something like a reference point, a sort of verbal time capsule. I wanted to see to show how our Generation sees the world, how we travel, how we don’t see things going so well.

TIME ONLINE: What was the terrifying thing that you have witnessed during your Mission?

Gerst: Terrifying is the wrong word maybe, because it is something Sudden, you had not previously perceived. Most likely in this direction, the dryness is probably still on the earth, which for me was new and amazing When I’ve seen brown Europe is in the middle of the summer, I was scared, in fact, a little bit. A lot of other things I would grab, but rather in the category of “disappointing”.

TIME ONLINE: For example?

Gerst: That you have to watch the clearing of the forests proceeds unchanged, or that the glaciers continue to decline. I have the glacier discovered that I knew from my time in new Zealand more than 20 years ago and have become considerably smaller. You can see such things from above, there is a to think that. Really shockingly very different for me, however, to see that the trail ended with my two colleagues abruptly, as if they wanted to fly high with their Soyuz to us in October.

TIME ONLINE: The Crew had to back then, due to a problem with the rocket in the Kazakh Steppe, an emergency landing, rather than a little later with them at the ISS to dock. A few months earlier, they themselves were sitting in a capsule.

Gerst: We have seen from the Cupola of the course, our viewing platform, and as the track of the rocket at some point stopped, I had a strange feeling. A few seconds later, the ground has informed us control that would switch on a confidential radio channel, in which no one could listen in. Since we know then that there was a false start, that it is not the Crew but a good one. That was the most Important.

TIME ONLINE: And then?

Gerst: we did not know at the Moment. To us, however, was quickly aware of the fact that we now have to stay for several months at the space station. Because after the false start, the other Soyuz flights were suspended, of course, to gain time for the error analysis.

TIME ONLINE: Brings together in a time like this?

Gerst: Yes, in all cases. Originally, we were six of you. Since the Crew is so great that everyone can pull from time to time, without affecting the mood. It is third only to that makes you automatically a lot more things in common, and that is also important. We have eaten, for example, every evening together. Or am I as a commander, often to my colleagues Sergey Prokopyev in the Russian part of the Station floated, have brought him something to drink with him to talk.


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