Humans will be on Mars within 20 years, claims Tim Peake – and it could be even sooner thanks to Elon Musk

British astronaut Tim Peake believes we’re entering an “exciting” new era of space exploration and that humans will be on Mars within the next 20 years.

Humans will be on Mars within 20 years, claims Tim Peake - and it could be even sooner thanks to Elon Musk

Speaking at a fundraiser for the charity Aerobility, which gives profoundly ill people the opportunity to fly light aircraft, Major Peake said that government space agencies have predicted humans to be exploring earth by the late 2030s.

However, he believes this date could be brought forward by the impact of space-travel entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk.

READ NEXT: How Elon Musk plans to get us to Mars

“I don’t know how many people saw Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy launch,” Major Peake said. “We are entering this new era of space exploration which is very, very exciting.”

Peake explained how the Deep Space Gateway, a station to be built collaboratively by multiple space agencies (that’ll be in orbit around the moon) will be crucial for both future moon landings and space travel to Mars.

“The Deep Space Gateway will probably start to be built in 2022. That’s what I’m really looking forward to because that paves the way for both lunar landings and, because of the orbit it [will be] in, that paves the way for [a] Mars transportation system,” added Peake.

“Humans on Mars – I think will be late 2030s. That’s what the government space agencies and the International Space Exploration Group are working towards.”

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“What could throw a big bowling ball through all that is commercial space flight,” he continued. “We have seen the ambitions of people like Elon Musk, there are several other companies that also have ambitions to send people to Mars.”

“I think that we will end up working very closely with these companies in public-private partnerships when we eventually go to Mars. It could be that some of those programmes bring that date forward. But, late 2030s would be a realistic time frame.”

READ NEXT: SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic: Who’s who in private space travel?

Earlier this month, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket currently in operation. The rocket carried Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster, which is currently orbiting the sun at 42,000mph and has a 10% chance of crashing into earth within the next few million years.

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