When choosing the first European on the moon, there is still no decision for a specific astronaut. “The drop hasn’t sucked yet,” said Matthias Maurer, one of two active German astronauts, the German Press Agency. Both he and his colleague Alexander Gerst would like to go to the moon. “We both want to fly.”

ESA has the goal of putting a European on the moon for the first time by the end of the decade with the US Artemis program. There has long been speculation as to who that could be. However, there is still no firm commitment from NASA for the flight.

Gerst had recently started a multi-week training program designed to prepare him for a possible moon mission. Maurer emphasized that Gerst’s training was a routine program – and not an indication of a particularly promising position. “We all go through the program.”

It’s a bit of a shame “that it’s portrayed as if we were competitors just because we were both on the ISS.” Maybe someone else will be in focus in a few years. “Maybe a young woman from Europe will fly to the moon.”