Tim Peake sets his sights on moon landing
Tim Peake has thrown his hat into the ring to be the first Briton to ever walk on the moon after Nasa hinted at the possibility this week.
Peake is so far the only official British astronaut to go to the International Space Station and do a space walk. He spent 186 days on the ISS after launching atop a Soyuz rocket in December 2015 beside a Russian and an American.
Chichester-born Peake, who turned 50 this year, spent 18 years in the Army flying helicopters before he became an astronaut, and he told the Bluedot Festival about the rigours of his European Space Agency (ESA) training.
“I would do it all again,” Peake told an audience of 3,000 fans.
“I’d love to do another spacewalk. [It was] absolutely fantastic. I would love to go to the moon. I’d love to go outside of low Earth orbit.
“Speaking to the Apollo astronauts, seeing the Earth from 400,000 kilometres away and seeing it disappear to the size of the moon in the night sky, I think that would be absolutely incredible.
“For me, the ideal mission would be on one of the Artemis missions which are returning to the moon in the very near future.”
Peake’s comments come less than a week after Nasa hinted that the next moon mission, which could be as soon as 2025, could feature a Briton.
Officials at Nasa flew in for discussions with the UK Space Agency earlier this week.
Col Pam Melroy, deputy administrator of Nasa and a former shuttle commander, said Britain was already helping with establishing lunar communications, but added that talks were under way for greater participation.
The first astronauts to land on the moon in more than 50 years will be Americans, but a European is expected to go on an early mission to the surface.
“We haven’t yet sorted out when one of our partners is going to fly,” Col Melroy said.
“We have been talking about the Gateway mission, which is scheduled to be built between the first and second landing and I feel very confident we will have an international partner because that makes sense, we will send them along with their hardware, but we haven’t sorted out when they will go to the surface.”
When asked by The Telegraph if he would be the first Briton on the moon, Peake avoided giving a direct answer, but joked he was “glad the rumour was spreading”.
“We are part of the Artemis programme, a really big part in it,” he told a tent full of avid science and space fans.