Tim Peake has thrown his hat in the ring to be the first Briton to walk on the moon after Nasa hinted at the possibility this week.
Peake is to date the only official British astronaut to go to the international space station and take a spacewalk. He spent 186 days on the ISS after launching atop a Soyuz rocket in December 2015 alongside a Russian and an American.
Peake, born in Chichester, who turns 50 this year, spent 18 years in the army flying helicopters before becoming an astronaut, and he spoke at the Bluedot festival of the rigors of his training at the European Space Agency (ESA).
“I would do it again,” Peake told an audience of 3,000 fans.
“I would love to do another spacewalk. [It was] absolutely fantastic. I would like to go to the moon. I would like to get out of low earth orbit.
“To talk to the Apollo astronauts, to see the Earth from 400,000 kilometers away and see it disappear 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 going back to the moon in the very near future.”
Peake’s comments come less than a week after NASA hinted that the next lunar missionwhich could be as early as 2025, could feature a Briton.
NASA officials flew in for talks with Britain’s space agency earlier this week.
Col. Pam Melroy, Nasa deputy administrator and former shuttle commander, said Britain was already helping to establish lunar communications, but added that talks were underway for greater participation.
The first astronauts to land on the Moon in more than 50 years will be Americans, but a The European should leave on a mission early on the surface.
“We have not yet determined when any of our partners will be flying,” Col Melroy said.
“We talked about the Gateway mission, which has to be built between the first and the second landing and I’m very confident that we will have an international partner because it makes sense, we will send them with their equipment, but we don’t have we don’t know when they will come to the surface.”
When asked by The Telegraph if he would be the first Briton on the moon, Peake avoided giving a straight answerbut joked that he was “glad the rumor is spreading”.
“We are part of the Artemis program, a very big part of it,” he told a tent full of science and space enthusiasts.