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.

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

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

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.

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

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."

Major Peake meeting fans after the ceremony in Chichester

Major Peake meeting fans after the ceremony in Chichester

VIDEO: Astronaut Tim Peake praises Chichester as he receives Freedom of the City

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

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.

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

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

"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.

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.

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

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

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."

Video credit: Crown Copyright

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

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