Alexander Gerst is one of six individuals who will become Europe's new astronauts. The new astronauts were presented at a press conference held at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France, on 20 May 2009. The new recruits will join the European Astronaut Corps and start their training to prepare for future missions to the International Space Station, and beyond. Alexander Gerst was born in Künzelsau, Germany, in 1976. He studied at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, where he received a diploma in geophysics. He also studied Earth Science at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where he was awarded a Master of Science. He has been working as a researcher since 2001. In his spare time, he enjoys mountaineering, diving, climbing and skydiving.