[The Infinite Monkey Cage] Brits in Space

Brits in Space

14/10/2019 by BBC Radio 4

Web player: https://podplayer.net/?id=83915127
Episode: http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p07qfszl.mp3

Brits in Space!

Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by astronaut and author of “The Astronaut Selection Test Book”, Tim Peake, first British astronaut Helen Sharman and comedian Mark Steel for a Brits in Space Special. Tim and Helen talk about their different experiences of training to be an astronaut and the challenges of life in space. They also look to the future as the panel talk about the various options being considered for long term space flight with planned future missions to the Moon and ultimately Mars.

Listen Date: 2020-01-23


  • Helen Sharman applied to be an astronaut after hearing an advert on the radio and went up to Mir in the late 80s or early 90s. Tim Peake was on the ISS closer to current date.
  • It kicks off with a glorious story of a broken toilet and crystallised urine floating into space while a cosmonaut named Yuri glares at departing pee. Yuri and the Urine Crystals would be a great kids’ book.
  • And later on there’s an equally glorious story about Scott Kelly sneaking a gorilla suit on to the International Space Station, just so he could jump out at and scare fellow astronauts. What is this Pink Panther nuttiness in space?
  • Also features discussion about the different entrance exams to be an astronaut in different countries’ space programs, and how the Candians have the most hardcore one.
  • Also discussed: food in space, and how so far, the only thing successfully grown in space is lettuce, which led to Helen Sharman making jokes about rocket lettuce.
  • Plus how it is impossible to test for the psychological impact of going to Mars (which will take 4-5 years in an enclosed rocket) by any means except doing it (but one year missions on the ISS have made it possible).
  • And the Chinese want to go it alone rather than join international space programs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s