Chichester astronaut admits mistaking floating Russian space pee for a UFO - and reveals how to fart in orbit

Chichester astronaut Tim Peake has told how he thought he had seen UFOs while in space, only to discover it was in fact droplets of pee leaking out of a Russian probe vehicle.

Major Peake became the first official British astronaut to join the International Space Station crew in 2015, and during his mission he earned a Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon in orbit. David Lowndes

The University of Portsmouth graduate, who spent six months in space, told The Graham Norton Show: "Space is very black and one day I was looking out and there were three lights moving in formation and then there was a fourth.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

"We were perplexed, until we realised that what we thought were the far away lights of alien spaceships were actually very close small droplets.

Major Peake became the first official British astronaut to join the International Space Station crew in 2015, and during his mission he earned a Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon in orbit. Photo: David Lowndes

"What was happening was liquid leaking out of a Russian probe vehicle, crystallising instantly and reflecting the light. What we were seeing was Russian urine."

The astronaut appeared on the programme alongside Gary Barlow, Nadiya Hussain, Richard Osman and Mariah Carey – who joined from the US virtually.

And Major Peake also revealed the strict etiquette on board the space station when it came to farting.

"You have to be mindful of your poor crew mates in space, so anti-social behaviour is not really welcome,’ he told the show after being asked a question by Bake-off star Nadiya.

"So what you do if you really, really need to let rip is go and do it next to the ventilation fan because that’s just sucking everything in with the airflow."

The European Space Agency astronaut was appearing on the show to mark the release his autobiography Limitless.

Describing the book as ‘really the journey from young boy to astronaut’, he added: "I feel a bit of a fraud because as a boy I had no ambitions at all of wanting to be an astronaut – I was obsessed with being a pilot."

Asked by Take That star Barlow if he was scared going into space, Major Peake said: "There is always a thought at the back of my mind that I am rolling the dice, but the overriding feeling is of adrenaline-fuelled excitement.

"Walking in space feels incredibly exposed and the danger is palpable out there."

He was also asked if he hopes to return to space.

"I’d love to – absolutely. In fact, we are all slated for a second mission between now and 2024. I’m waiting by the phone," he said.

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.