Astronaut describes what it was like to see Ukraine war from space

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer spoke with German broadcaster ARD to recount his time in space watching as the Ukraine war unfolded.

Published Thu, May 26 2022 5:34 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jun 16 2022 8:33 AM CDT

Astronaut Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency (ESA) returned to Earth on May 6th, 2022, after a 176-day stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronaut describes what it was like to see Ukraine war from space 02 |

Image Credit: BlackSky Technology

Speaking with German broadcaster ARD, Maurer recounted what he could see from space as the war in Ukraine unfolded after starting on February 24th, 2022, about a week after passing three months aboard the station. Maurer said the war "was clearly visible to the naked eye from space," noting "huge black columns of smoke over cities like Mariupol."

Maurer described seeing the country around the time the war began, saying, "the whole country went dark at night," but people aboard the station particularly recognized Kyiv. Within the first days of the war, they could "see lightning at night" and even explosions from "rockets hitting."

He also noted how all of the crew members could agree that "terrible things are happening in Ukraine," despite the long-standing Russian presence aboard the ISS. Besides the occasional awkward moments, life aboard the space station has remained peaceful and civil. Maurer remarked that "War seen from above is a hundred times more irrational than from the ground," then pondered, "why don't we humans stick together?"

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