Alexander Gerst has been aboard the ISS since the end of May. The geophysicist completed a doctorate in volcanology at Universität Hamburg and joined the astronaut corps of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2009. Altogether, Gerst and his crew will spend six months in space, amongst other things to conduct numerous scientific experiments.
The astronaut is no stranger to extreme situations. Most likely, this is the reason why ESA selected him for its “Blue Dot—Shaping the Future” space mission, together with six other astronauts. His doctoral studies from 2004 to 2009 focused on the eruption dynamics of the volcano Mount Erebus in Antarctica. For doctoral research purposes Gerst spent weeks on end in barren arctic isolation.