1. ITV Report

Tim Peake says there could be life on Mars

Astronaut Tim Peake says he believes there could be life on planets other than Earth, including on Mars.

He's been in Stevenage where he announced that the name of the new probe due to land on Mars will be named "Rosalind Franklin"

Tim Peake says there could be life on Mars Credit: ITV Anglia

He told ITV Anglia that one of the most common questions he gets asked is 'do aliens exist?'

"It may sound a childish question but actually it's an answer that many scientists, engineers and space agencies are seeking to to find the answer to and this exomars mission is exomars Rover is all about looking for signs of life on Mars past or possibly present."

– Tim Peake
Expected surface of Mars Credit: Airbus/UK Space Agency

The Mars Rover, built by Airbus, is due to land on the red planet in 2021 to hunt for signs of alien life.

"I personally think that there is life out there in the universe I don't believe the biogenesis was in a unique for planet Earth in fact I think that is life is probably abundant throughout the universe, but we're talking about microbial life forms or single-cell life forms for example and the best chance of finding evidence of that life on Mars it's a look under the surface that's what's so special and exciting about this Rover is that it has a 2 metre drill that will enable us to look in that prime area for the search for organic molecules."

– Tim Peake
The Mars Rover Credit: ITV Anglia

While he was on board the International Space Station Tim Peake remotely controlled a prototype of the Mars Rover

"We were looking at ways of how astronauts and rovers can interact and how we can actually work through the difficulties of communication over long distances which is subject to all sorts of delays and disruptions."

– Tim Peake

More than 30 thousand people entered the competition to name the rover with the winner revealed in Stevenage today.

The name was suggested in tribute to Rosalind Elsie Franklin, a chemist whose pioneering works has helped us understand molecular structures of DNA.

  • Click below to watch our interview with Tim Peake