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Podcast Pick: Space BBC World service

ByJemma Hoolahan

Jan 27, 2016

Martin Reese, Gill Steward, Monica Grady and David Parker collectively explore the possibilities that space holds for us in the future. Whilst spending on space development is declining in the USA, and space stations are closing, this episode, ‘Reaching for the Stars’ focuses on how our relationship with space is actually growing. Previously the main explorations of space were done under pressure of politics. However, today we are exploring space out of interest and, as Parker explains, ‘excitement’; the possibility of the unknown.

All equally enthusiastic, the panel are both informative and engaging, using language that anyone can understand and providing simple definitions where necessary. The podcast is split into two sections: the first focusing on finance and where our relationship with space is taking us, while the second half focuses on the unknowns of space. This gives the listener both a factual and a more speculative point of view.

Initially the podcast explains how more countries are taking an active role with outer space, informing the listener of UAE’s plans for launching a mission to Mars, and China’s more active involvement with space.

The panel explore some of the more topical ideas surrounding space such as the possibility of colonising either the Moon or Mars. There has been discussion by officials of terraforming Mars: changing the environment to suit human habitation by melting the icecaps. However, Stewart had very strong opinions on how this is unethical, more so if any form of life was to be found there. The podcast is further made accessible through the interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, a science fiction author, exploring the general population’s relationship with space.

In the second half of the podcast, the panel engage in a discussion on the future of the human race and how this is linked with the possibilities of space. They believe that with genetic modification a post-human species could be created which would enable us to have a more accessible relationship with outer space.

Whilst the panel are usually united in their discussions, the final question of whether or not there are life forms in space causes some slight disagreement in their answers, enabling the listener to appreciate a range of opinions and speculate for themselves.

Image: Sweetie187

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