Naked Astronomy - From the Naked Scientists
Summary: We look at the latest news from the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies. Plus interviews with professional astronomers and the answers to your space science questions.
Aaron Knoll and Chris Bridges join Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham at the Surrey Space Centre for a virtual ride into space. Plus science minister David Willetts argues for a spaceport in Scotland, and shuttle astronaut and B612 Foundation founder Ed Lu explains why we should act now to save the Earth from an asteroid with our name on it...
The Space Boffins are in America to hear about Neil Armstrong and the hypersonic X-15 at the Edwards Air Force base, and they're also reporting from the surface of Mars. More precisely, from the UK's new Mars Yard, in Stevenage. But the head of the UK Space Agency, the European Space Agency's head of robotic exploration and Business Secretary Vince Cable are also walking on the red planet with them. There's also an interview with former space shuttle astronaut Jon McBride and the studio guest is Helen Keen - presenter of Radio 4 comedy 'It Is Rocket Science'.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and the challenge of looking for space aliens and why they never attack Belgium is under scrutiny this month. Plus, Richard Hollingham also reports from the Mojave desert on the progress being made by Virgin Galactic and XCOR to fly tourists into space. And he talks to a U2 spy plane pilot about boiling blood and life above the Earthlings...
Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham dodge a prototype Mars rover on location at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage - where the future Exo Mars mission rover is going to be built. They're joined by space engineer Abbie Hutty and the Mr Future of advanced space concepts, Matthew Stuttard. There are also reports on Urthecast - the two new British-made cameras on the International Space Station - and the imminent launch of the crowd-funded spacecraft, KickSat.
Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham meet astronaut Chris Hadfield. In this special edition of the podcast, Commander Hadfield talks about fixing a space toilet, how rifle practice helped him dock a spacecraft and the advantages of flying musicians in space. We also hear from a group of children he's been singing with and he gives his views on space tourism.
Meera Senthilingam takes a tour of the South African Large Telescope (SALT) and neighbouring facilities.
Join Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham for a lunar love-in featuring Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell and studio guests David Baker, author of the latest Apollo 13 Haines Manual, and the spacetastic Gareth Jones. Together they discuss the future of lunar space missions and Richard reports from the United States on Apollo's successor, Orion, with a space architect. Plus there's a seasonal tribute to Apollo 8. What's not to like?
Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by new Mars Society president Jerry Stone and aspiring astronaut Kate Arkless-Gray. Sue reports from the UK control room of the Mars SAFER field trial as scientists operate an ExoMars rover prototype; there's a revealing interview by Kate with Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, and shield your ears if you want to hear how Richard got on in QinetiQ's centrifuge. Warning: it's not pretty...
As Comet ISON draws near to its close approach with the Sun in November, much uncertainty remains over how brilliant it will be. Dominic Ford speaks to Matthew Bishop at the Lowell Observatory to find out more. He also talks to Apostolos Christou from the Armagh Observatory about a group of asteroids which closely follow the orbit and Mars, and appear to fragments of a much larger pair of asteroids which collided. Tamela Maciel from the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge reports on the lonely exoplanet which doesn't seem to have a parent star, and Kirsten Gottschalk from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research reports that the non-detection of gravitational waves by radio astronomers is starting to rule out some theories of how black holes grow.
Dominic Ford reports from the European Planetary Science Congress, where he heard about the latest misisons to Mars and the Moon. Lewis Dartnell explains how the ExoMars mission, due to land on Mars in 2018, will go about looking for signs of lifeforms that may have died out billions of years ago. Dina Pasini discusses her more speculative ideas about how the life we see on Earth could have started on Mars. And Bernard Foing and Jessica Barnes discuss what we're still learning about the Moon. Plus, we have more answers to your space science questions.
This autumn, the Gaia spacecraft will be launched on a mission to find out where the Milky Way's stars came from. I catch up with two of the astronomers at the Lund Observatory who've worked on designing the spacecraft, and with one of the astronomers who's hoping to use data from the spacecraft to calculate where and when the stars of our galaxy formed. Plus, I hear about a new technique which is being used to work out what the atmospheres of planets around other stars are made of, and about observations of a recent gamma ray burst which are helping us to unravel what triggers these strange cosmic phenomena.
This month I've taken to the seaside to bring you a special episode of Naked Astronomy from the National Astronomy Meeting, which was held in St Andrews in the first week of July. I find out about the sparkles that can help us to understand solar flares, plans to let school children loose on a new research-grade telescope, and a technique that could produce the first high-resolution images of quasars.
How much detail can amateur astronomers see on Jupiter, and how can space scientists use this to probe the Solar System's largest storms?
We talk to astronomers who study the environments around black holes, ask what we can learn from a meteor which hit the Moon in March, and find out how spacecraft can navigate their way through the solar system.
We talk to Planck Scientists at the Kavli Institute in Cambridge, and Nick James, an amateur astronomer who has set up a security camera on the side of his house to observe shooting stars. Plus we answer more of your space science questions.