Astronaut Tim Peake says Europe's space agency avoids hiring people who say they would live and die on Mars

Astronaut Tim Peake says Europe's space agency avoids hiring people who say they would live and die on Mars
British astronaut Tim Peake discussed creating safe habitats on Mars.Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images
  • Astronaut Tim Peake said Europe's space agency avoids hiring people who want a one-way trip to Mars.
  • The ESA wants people who are thoughtful and aware of risk mitigation, Peake told the FT.

British astronaut Tim Peake said the European Space Agency (ESA) avoided hiring people who said they would live and die on a Mars colony.

During an interview with the Financial Times, published on Monday, Peake said those types of people were not who the space agency was looking for when hiring candidates.

"We're not after people who are happy to throw it all away on a one-way ticket to Mars. We're after people who are very thoughtful and aware of risk mitigation," said Peake, who was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station for a scientific expedition.

The ESA confirmed Peake's comments to Insider but declined to comment further, noting that the agency doesn't fly humans to Mars. Representatives for Peake didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Around 2,200 employees work for the ESA, including tech specialists, engineers, and scientists, per its website. The ESA's competency framework has various requirements, including understanding the agency's vision and contributing to overall goals.


Reaching Mars is a key ambition for Elon Musk. His company SpaceX has been successfully testing out its rocket system Starship. Musk eventually wants Starship to take people to the red planet. In March, he predicted people would land on Mars in 2029.

Peake told the FT that before getting there, "we have to get over the hurdles of getting to Mars safely." This included landing on the planet safely, establishing human habitats, and expanding those communities, he added.

"I absolutely do not see us having a problem with getting to Mars and creating safe habitats on Mars," Peake told the FT.

Despite this, Peake said in the interview that living in settlements on Mars would be uncomfortable.

This is something Musk has also spoken about in the past. "It's very important to emphasize that Mars, especially in the beginning, will not be luxurious," Musk said in a video interview with Chris Anderson, the head of TED, in April. "It will be dangerous, cramped, difficult, hard work."


However, Musk previously said the first mission to Mars would be very dangerous and the risk of death would be high.

"It would be basically: are you prepared to die? And if that's okay then you're a candidate for going," Musk said during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Mexico in 2016.