Swedish-Norwegian astronaut Marcus Wandt returned to Europe after much talk about his space journey. Several weeks of weightlessness had left their mark, not least physically.
1 of 4Photograph: John Rooks/AP/NTP
– I have never felt like the skin is made of lead, says Wandt to the TT news agency.
Three days ago, the capsule carrying the 43-year-old man and three others landed in the sea off the coast of Florida after 17 days on the International Space Station.
Wandt is currently at an astronaut facility in Cologne, Germany, where he is constantly examined. After conducting 30 experiments in space, he is now under the microscope.
– The search continues, and now I am the object, says Wandt and laughs.
– Find a good 'flow'
Wandt grew up outside Karlstad, Sweden, but his mother lives in Gjövik. He is the first person with Norwegian citizenship in space. Two Swedish astronauts preceded him into space.
Wandt became the first ESA astronaut on a commercial mission when he and his crewmates blasted off aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle on January 19.
The 43-year-old describes his time in space as “absolutely fantastic and very different”, and that he feels he has contributed well to the work done on the ISS.
-I felt like I found a good 'flow'. After all, we were able to more than pass all the missions we aimed for, which were far beyond expectations and incredibly fun. The feeling of being there and representing Sweden and showing that Sweden is still a leading country in innovation is very enjoyable.
Littering presents problems
Wandt has no doubt what has become clearer since his return to Earth.
– You wake up in the morning, and when you wake up, you have to think – What's the problem? Yes, I'm heavy, I'm very heavy. Only now is that feeling starting to disappear, he told TT.
The special conditions in space lead to a loss of weight and muscle mass. Also, Wandt has grown a little, which is normal for astronauts.
– He says: I think I'll shrink again.
The 43-year-old says not everything is “easy” for him in space. Simple things, like throwing something in the trash, were difficult.
Gravity was not a factor in space, everything was lying in a straight line there. Here the thrown objects fall to the ground. It's very easy to misjudge, gravity is stronger than you think.
During his time in space, Wandt was given time several times to do something he had hoped to do: observe a complete orbit around the Earth.
Seeing our planet without man-made boundaries made an unexpectedly strong impression. The first few times it seemed unreal. Something emotional happened when I saw the Earth, outer space, the thin atmosphere… how fast it crosses the continent, says the 43-year-old.
Wandt was moved to talk about seeing sunsets from space, how light creates a glowing circle surrounding the Earth, how strong thunderstorms are around the equator, and how fast the Earth rotates.
-It was very, very strong. All the conflicts on Earth seem unnecessary. He says it's incredibly unnecessary.
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