#46 – April 2016

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The Discussion: This month Jeni has a PhD offer that’s getting us all excited, Paul’s been clocking up the miles to teach science and astronomy to schools and Ralph’s just excited because he’s got a new telescope.

Mat & Phil from Project Helium Tears join us again on the day they launched their 2nd Star Wars themed balloon to the edge of space.

The News: We start the news with last month’s total solar eclipse seen from parts of Asia before explaining the research that suggests an ancient cataclysm caused Mars crust & mantle to shift. Then we discuss the launch of ESA’s Exomars part 1. And we finish with a round-up of the news from NASA’s Insight mission, the 1st analysis of the atmosphere of a super earth exoplanet atmosphere and the latest SpaceX attempt to bring down the cost of commercial spaceflight.

The Interview: For the interview this month we welcome Apollo 12 lunar module pilot and Skylab 2 commander Alan Bean. We discuss:

  • 44 years of humans staying in Low Earth Orbit
  • Nearly missing out on walking on the moon due to lightning
  • Saving the Apollo 12 mission
  • The colourful crew of Apollo 12
  • Finding organic matter in lunar orbit
  • Competing with smarter astronauts – and not being Clint Eastwood!
  • A moonwalker’s impressions of the moon
  • The feeling of the moon’s surface underfoot

And the full hour long interview with Alan Bean will be released in May 2016.

Woobusters: Continuing our quest to debunk the myths and conspiracy theories that persist in every dark corner of the news and the internet. This month’s topic, picked at random from the Big Hat of Woo, is The Dead Cosmonauts conspiracy.

Q&A: Listeners’ questions via email, Facebook & Twitter take us on a journey into the astronomy issues that have always plagued our understanding or stretched our credulity. This month we tackle:

When will the Theory of General Relativity become Law? Brad Bell from Texas, United States

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