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Space

A collection of radio documentary programmes broadcast on the BBC World Service, with one thing in common – space.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Caravans in Space

The plans to set up human colonies in space and spaceships that will take us to the stars. Richard Hollingham travels to the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Chattanooga, Tennessee to meet scientists, engineers, doctors and anthropologists who are working on it.These are not dreamers - although they all have an ambitious dream - but well qualified experts. Several work at Nasa, others have day jobs at universities and research institutes.Richard hears of proposals to build giant space stations and worldships - vessels packed with the best of humanity. These caravans in space might be lifeboats to escape an approaching asteroid or perhaps the first step to colonising the galaxy.With contributions from Technical Adviser to Nasa's Advanced Concepts Office Les Johnson, Director of the Space Engineering Centre at the University of Arizona John Lewis, architect Rachel Armstrong and anthropologist Cameron Smith.This programme first aired in November 2016.

26mins

14 Jan 2017

Rank #1

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Enceladus: Is There Life On Saturn's Moon?

Saturn’s moon Enceladus has giant geysers blasting water into space at supersonic speeds. Does it also harbour life beneath its crust? Originally broadcast on 14 Dec 2016.

26mins

17 Dec 2015

Rank #2

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How to Survive in Space: Deep Space

How science, engineering and medicine come together to get fragile human life safely into space. Where should our ambitions lie? Originally broadcast 31 December 2015.

26mins

31 Dec 2015

Rank #3

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Space Medicine

The skin suit that combats the effects of microgravity, pushing human physiology and psychology to the limit, and the 'Overview' effect.Originally broadcast on 16 December 2015

26mins

18 Dec 2015

Rank #4

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How to Survive in Space: Into Orbit

How science, engineering and medicine are trying to understand the limits of human physiology to ensure survival in space. Originally broadcast 30 December 2015.

26mins

30 Dec 2015

Rank #5

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Sounds of Space 1: The Solar System

The previously silent world of outer space is getting noisier. Listen in to sounds recorded on board spacecraft and sonifications of space data. Originally broadcast 30 June 2015.

26mins

18 Dec 2015

Rank #6

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We Shall Fly - Part One

Why African nations are so keen to journey into the future as a space-going continent. Space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock visits Nigeria, the birthplace of her father, to explore the passionate desire among some to fly against the continent’s impoverished stereotype and join the space race. And, what of the financial commitment required to achieve these dreams in countries where it is sometimes a struggle to keep the lights on?"Quite a few false starts have been made in Africa," wrote the Ugandan philosopher and writer Taban Lo-Liyong, "...but most of us know the direction we are going – straight into the 21st Century. And to arrive there we are not going to go the way our grandparents would have gone – on foot and by canoe. We shall fly, we shall go by missiles, we shall go with the white man, we shall go with the yellow man. And we shall go by all means."We follow this poetic, aspirational spirit through the continent’s history, from speaking to the South African hoping to be the first black African in space, to a surprising and touching example of amateur space exploration in 1960s Zambia. What do these ambitions mean, and who believes in them?This programme was first broadcast in October 2016. (Photo: Back dropped by planet Earth the International Space Station (ISS) is seen from Nasa space shuttle Endeavour, May 2011. Credit: Nasa)

26mins

12 Jan 2017

Rank #7

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Sounds of Space 2: Deep Space

Take a sonic tour of the universe - this time, deep into the cosmos. Some sounds are recorded sound, others are data that have been sonified. Originally broadcast 7 July 2015.

26mins

23 Dec 2015

Rank #8

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Why Does The Moon Fascinate Us So Much?

Why has the moon fascinated humans for so long? The moon in culture, how it affects life on Earth and what the moon is really like. Originally broadcast 21 July 2014.

17mins

26 Dec 2015

Rank #9

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The Apollo 13 Space Emergency

In 1970, three American astronauts were heading to the moon when disaster struck. Astronaut Fred Haise describes what happened. Originally broadcast 14 April 2010.

9mins

27 Dec 2015

Rank #10