Within 50 years a human will have been to Mars, astronaut Tim Peake believes.
But the European Space Agency astronaut is not convinced the feat will be achieved in the next two decades.
Speaking at the UK Space Conference in Newport, Major Peake said he thought it was unlikely life would be found on the red planet, but if even a single cell was discovered it would be “hugely significant”.
Read more about Tim Peake’s historic mission aboard the ISS:
He also spoke about the challenges facing the space industry in terms of responsibly travelling to space.
He explained: “Space debris has been out of control, it is now becoming under control in terms of regulation, in terms of trying to get satellite launch companies to comply with the ability to either de-orbit their satellite at the end of life, or to remove them from being a risk of space debris.
“But we can always do more – we have to clean up the problems of the past. But we are now aware of the problem.”
He added that it is necessary to clean up space before a “catastrophic impact” takes out incredibly valuable space assets like telecommunications, the International Space Station and weather systems.
Alexander is the Online Editor at BBC Science Focus and is the one that keeps sciencefocus.com looking shipshape and Bristol fashion. He has been toying around with news, technology and science on internet for well over a decade, and sports a very fetching beard.