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Cover image of Space Boffins, from the Naked Scientists

Space Boffins, from the Naked Scientists

Publishing monthly, Space Boffins brings you cutting edge conversation and debate about the past, present and future of space science.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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The Last Man on the Moon

In this special edition, the Last Man on the Moon, Gene Cernan, talks exclusively to Richard Hollingham about the final step, mortality and his disappointment about the way the space programme has developed. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

27mins

9 Aug 2014

Rank #1

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The Spacewalk from Hell

Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham hear from the Rosetta mission's Flight Director, Andrea Accomazzo, about choosing a landing site on comet 67P - plus Apollo astronaut and last man on the Moon, Gene Cernan, on the spacewalk from hell. Dr Lucie Green from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and the lab's poet in residence, Simon Barraclough, are the lively studio guests. Expect space poetry, scientific insight and a song about photons. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

34mins

9 Sep 2014

Rank #2

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Killer Asteroids

Could life on Earth be wiped out by a killer asteroid? The short answer is yes. This month the Space Boffins hear about a new European telescope to spot the threat before it's too late. Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are joined at the Royal Astronomical Society in London by Robert Massey and Helen Klus to discuss how astronomy could save the world. Richard also chats to NASA astronaut Steve Bowen who reveals what it will be like to live in the 'cramped' new Orion spacecraft and the perils of returning to Earth after a mission to the Moon or Mars. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

42mins

12 Mar 2018

Rank #3

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Recovering Beagle 2 from Mars

Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson discover why we should recover Beagle 2 from the surface of Mars; why we need the Uranus Pathfinder mission; and how exoplanets are putting a twinkle in the eyes of British space scientists. There's also music from Public Sector Broadcasting, with band member J Willgoose explaining how they use space archive footage as an integral part of their unique sound. They're also are joined by Dr Leigh Fletcher from Oxford University and Dr Sheila Kanani from the Royal Astronomical Society with interviews from Professor Ian Wright and Professor Mark Sims. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

33mins

10 Feb 2015

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

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... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

35mins

10 Mar 2014

Rank #5

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Chris Hadfield: How to fix a space toilet

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. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

26mins

10 Jan 2014

Rank #6

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Rockets in the Jungle

It's the 7th anniversary of Space Boffins and Sue and Richard are joined by BBC Science Correspondent, Jonathan Amos - a guest on the very first podcast. Meanwhile, Richard reports from the new Ariane 6 launchpad being built at the European spaceport in French Guiana, and we meet the European Space Agency astronaut training with the Chinese. The team also get to the bottom of some mysterious Skylab space banter. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

45mins

9 Jul 2018

Rank #7

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Zero G

Sue bags a flight on Europe's 'Zero G' aircraft to experience microgravity. Back in the studio, Richard and Sue are joined by Libby Jackson from the UK Space Agency to discuss her new book on women in space. And the Boffins celebrate the era when Britain led the space race with the Skylark rocket. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

43mins

10 Jan 2018

Rank #8

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Apollo 11 Special (Part 1)

As mankind celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by bestselling Apollo 11 author David Whitehouse at the British Interplanetary Society. Universal Pictures' highly anticipated documentary film, Apollo 11, is out in UK cinemas on June 28 and, with a sneak preview, Sue meets the film's director Todd Miller and archivist Stephen Slater. If you've seen the Orion capsule you'll know it resembles Apollo and will splashdown too. Richard talks to Melissa Jones, the NASA landing and recovery director at the Kennedy Space Center,... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

55mins

9 Jun 2019

Rank #9

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Space Boffins Blast Off!

It's a rocket special on this month's Space Boffins with Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham. As the UK's plans for a Spaceport forge ahead, two microlauncher companies are at the forefront of a commercial space race for launching small satellites from the UK. Sue hears from Orbex's Chris Larmour and Skyrora's Daniel Smith to find out what they have planned. Richard reports from the European spaceport Vega C launch pad in French Guiana with engineer Marco Calcabrini and inside the Ariane 5 and Vega control room with Jean-Marc Durand from Arianespace. Astronomer and science writer Stuart Clark... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

42mins

9 Aug 2018

Rank #10

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Spy Satellite Special

In a special edition of Space Boffins, Richard Hollingham meets a man rarer than a Moonwalker - a spy satellite engineer. Phil Pressel led the team that built the camera for the Hexagon spy satellite system - the most complicated satellite ever launched. Hexagon took pictures on 30 miles of film and returned it to Earth in cannisters, which were captured by aircraft. The interview includes revelations about the capabilities of the satellite, secrecy and Phil's incredible upbringing. Did spy satellites help prevent World War 3? You decide Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

27mins

10 Sep 2018

Rank #11

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Flying hotdogs

Mice and flying hotdogs on the podcast as we report from NASA on how to save Apollo's famous mission control and discuss China's landing on the far side of the Moon. Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are in Milton Keynes where they are joined by Dave Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University. Richard hits the jackpot, however, with a tour of a threatened, nicotine stained national historic monument - the iconic mission control at NASA Johnson Space Centre in Houston. Historic preservation officer Sandra Tetley is his guide and reveals how mission... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

39mins

16 Jan 2019

Rank #12

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Giant Rockets to the Moon

The Space Boffins get to see inside the NASA's famous Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre - a building so large that it has its own weather system. It's being adapted so that NASA's Saturn V replacement the new SLS or Space Launch System rocket will be built. The senior NASA engineer who's overseeing the project, Ken Tenbusch, gives Richard Hollingham a personal tour. Back in the studio Richard and Sue (Nelson) are joined by rocket expert David Wade and Oliver Morton, author of The Moon: A History for the Future. There's also an insight into Gene Cernan's experience during... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

47mins

9 Apr 2019

Rank #13

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Lunar Heritage and Lost Meteorites

Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson with a TinTin style headline for this month's podcast: lunar heritage and the lost meteorites of Antarctica. Recorded at the recent Bluedot festival, Space archaeologist and co-deputy chair of Australia's Space Industry Association, Dr Alice Gorman, explains why we need to think about preserving the Apollo sites before we return to the Moon and Dr Katherine Joy discusses her latest meteorite mission. Bjorn from Sweden provides a jingle, the joys of Lego and the Royal Astronomical Society's Dr Robert Massey joins the fun to add to a long list of... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

37mins

10 Aug 2019

Rank #14

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Mission to the Moon

Apollo 8 commander, Frank Borman, joins Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson in this month's podcast. Fifty years ago Apollo 8 became the first manned mission to orbit the Moon and so the podcast has a lunar theme. Recorded at the Royal Astronomical Society in London, guests include Dr Robert Massey and art historian Dr Alexandra Loske, authors of Moon: Art, Science, Culture. There's also an appearance by former European astronaut Thomas Reiter, who discusses the joint NASA and ESA plans for the Moon with Orion, and Caroline Geraghy explains how her son Hayden became the inspiration... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

50mins

13 Dec 2018

Rank #15

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Apollo 11 Special (Part 2)

This is a Space Boffins podcast to blow your minds. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, it features the only woman in launch control for Apollo 11, JoAnn Morgan, talking about her work as an instrumentation controller and coping with sexism on the job. Former Apollo engineer David Baker joins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson in the British Interplanetary Society library with contributions from Apollo propulsion engineer John Tribe and former NASA Johnson Space Centre head, George Abbey. It also features David Fairhead, director of the new Armstrong movie, and a sneak... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

56mins

10 Jul 2019

Rank #16

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Space Boffins Live ESA Special

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli joins Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham for a podcast special recorded at the European Space Agency's ESTEC facility in The Netherlands during their Open Day. Thousands of people travel from across Europe and beyond to see where the European Space Agency tests its spacecraft before launch and the birthplace of many of its science missions. Joining the ever entertaining Nespoli on the Space Rocks stage is space debris expert Luisa Innocenti, head of ESA's Clean Space Office, on better alternatives for spacecraft materials plus trainee aerospace engineer... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

28mins

9 Oct 2018

Rank #17

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Spacecraft Reunited

This month Space Boffins contemplates the missing universe, the nature of humanity and reunites astronaut Nicole Stott with her Space Shuttle Atlantis. Richard Hollingham is joined by theoretical physicist and comedian Dr Fran Day to discuss a new European mission, Euclid, which will be investigating dark matter. He also chats to NASA's new chief flight director in mission control Houston, Holly Ridings, and we hear from Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart about his revelations from orbit.You can follow Space Boffins on twitter, @SpaceBoffins. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

30mins

11 Mar 2019

Rank #18

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Don't call me Fruit Loops!

The Space Boffins podcast is in New York with NASA astronaut, engineer and Big Bang Theory star Mike Massimino. Recorded on the Hudson River from the flight deck of the USS Intrepid - where Massimino works once a week - Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are also joined by the Sea, Air Space Museum's curator of aviation, Eric Boehm. Add a report on archiving space missions with NASA TV audio engineer Greg Wiseman and you have a NASAtastic edition and yes, we do discuss fruit loops Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

30mins

12 Nov 2018

Rank #19

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Magnificent Mercury: BepiColombo

Magnificent Mercury is in full focus. Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are at the National Space Centre in Leicester with BepiColombo mission scientists Professor Emma Bunce and Dr Suzie Imber. They also visit London's Science Museum to see the newly installed thermal spacecraft model for Europe's first mission to Mercury in October. Expect to hear from ESA's chief scientific advisor, Mark McCaughrean, the low down on a Soviet space toilet in Leicester, and hear why NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield is complete space shambles - in a good way of course... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

52mins

9 Jun 2018

Rank #20