Chichester astronaut Tim Peake wants to be on space mission to Mars

Astronaut and Chichester hero Tim Peake wants to be on a future mission to Mars.

Tim Peake spent six months in space, flying up in a Soyuz TMA-19M rocket (right) in December 2015. Picture: NASA
Tim Peake spent six months in space, flying up in a Soyuz TMA-19M rocket (right) in December 2015. Picture: NASA

However the International Space Station (ISS) veteran warned of the possible dangers of making contact with alien life.

Major Peake - who last year was given freedom of the city in front of hundreds of adoring fans - said he was fascinated by the famous red planet and the possibility of life there.

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The European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, who went to Chichester High School, spoke after the naming of a new Mars rover last week.

Tim Peake spent six months in space, flying up in a Soyuz TMA-19M rocket (right) in December 2015. Picture: NASA

He said: "It's an incredibly interesting planet. I'd love to go to Mars.

"However it is a long mission. Probably at least a three-year mission to Mars, to have a meaningful surface day and right now I have a ten-year-old and a seven-year-old so my priority is as a father, but give it another ten years and I'll be jumping on that spacecraft."

The cutting edge ExoMars rover is being built by the ESA and will search for the building blocks of life on the Red Planet.

Major Peake meeting fans after the ceremony in Chichester

Last week it was announced that it will be named Rosalind Franklin, after the famous British scientist whose pioneering work on DNA is still important today.

Major Peake said: "Roaslind Franklin was a great British scientist who had a profound effect on our knowledge about life, human life, and DNA in particular.

"And of course the ExoMars Rover is essentially searching for signs of past or present, possibly indications of life, whether it existed or not on Mars."

Major Peake spent 186 days in space on his famous Principia mission aboard the ISS, landing back on Earth in June 2016.

Tim Peake took a selfie during his first spacewalk, Picture: NASA

Last year he was given Freedom of the City in a ceremony at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Speaking at the naming event, Major Peake laughed when asked which alien he would like to meet, but also offered a warning.

He said: I'm not sure, really. I mean, my idea of aliens is that we should be careful about wanting to meet them because if you think about what their ambitions and aims might be and you know, might not be similar to ours.

"But in terms of friendly aliens I mean ET was one of the first movie aliens and he was pretty friendly so let's go with ET."

Tim Peake and the capsule that took him back from space to Earth

Video credit: Crown Copyright

Tim Peake receiving the Freedom of the City from mayor Peter Evans