Naked Astronomy, from the Naked Scientists

The latest news from the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies, plus interviews with professional astronomers and the answers to your space science questions.

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The latest news from the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies, plus interviews with professional astronomers and the answers to your space science questions.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-06-21 09:46
last episode published
2019-06-09 23:00
publication frequency
24.28 days
The Naked Scientists author  
Dr Chris Smith owner  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Education Science & Medicine Health Natural Sciences Higher Education



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

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 d...

Remarkable Women: A hidden history

Space Boffin Sue Nelson interviews two remarkable women for this podcast: Hidden Figure Christine Darden and Mercury 13 legend and astronaut wannabe, Wally Funk. Darden, who featured in the book Hidden Figures, worked at NASA for 40 years as a mathema...

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 Sys...

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 Euro...

Astrofest Live!

Space Boffins are live on stage at Astrofest 2019 in London with a stellar line-up of guests to discuss landing on Phobos, weirdly-shaped space rocks and Europe's mission to Mercury. They're joined by science writer Stuart Clark, the Japanese Space Age...

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 jo...

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 Astr...

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...

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 beyon...

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 launche...

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 t...

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 i...

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 ...

Sampling an Asteroid

Asteroid expert Professor Simon Green joins the Space Boffins to discuss missions to collect samples from space rocks and return them to Earth, and the perils of re-directing asteroids heading our way. Richard and Sue also chat to Romanian astronaut Du...

Water on Mars

After 2000 days on Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover is still going strong. In this month's Space Boffins Richard visits Imperial College London to talk to one of the lead scientists on the mission, Sanjeev Gupta, about water on Mars, life and future astron...

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 Astronom...

Space, Boffins & Rock Stars

Queen guitarist, rock star and astronomer Brian May adds some celebrity stardust and big hair on this month's podcast for the launch of the 2019 Starmus Festival. May talks about the essential humanity of a science, arts and music overlap and reveals t...

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 Brita...

Space Highlights of 2017

Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are joined by space journalist Sarah Cruddas and rocket insurer, David Wade, to discuss 2017 and look ahead to 2018 in space. Featuring genetically engineered astronauts, Cassini and giant private rockets, it also incl...

How To Leave The Planet

This month, TV science presenter Dallas Campbell joins Sue and Richard to discuss how to leave the planet. The Space Boffins also hear from Apollo 15 legend Al Worden, who spent 3 days isolated in his space capsule around the Moon. And what better way ...

Space Boffins Explore ESTEC

Two astronauts and an Imperial Storm Trooper join the Space Boffins podcast from The Netherlands at the European Space Agency's ESTEC Open Day - where thousands of people can see the Agency's spacecraft testing facilities and meet the scientists and en...

Cassini's Grand Finale

Space Boffins Sue Nelson, Richard Hollingham and studio guest Sarah Cruddas talk rockets, total eclipses and Cassini's final days at Saturn. Apollo, Mercury and Shuttle propulsions engineer John Tribe reminisces about his incredible career - beginning ...

Extraterrestrial Humans

This month, European astronaut Luca Parmitano suggests a future for genetically engineered space travellers, the Space Boffins celebrate 40 years of the Voyager mission and look forward to the demise of Cassini, shortly to plunge into Saturn. Space sci...

Mission to Mercury

Space Boffins Sue Nelson and the Guardian's Stuart Clark are at the European Space Agency's ESTEC facility in The Netherlands to see the BepiColombo spacecraft - Europe's mission to Mercury. As the LISA Pathfinder mission comes to a successful end, we ...

Missions to Mars

The Space Boffins return to Mars to hear about progress on the plus-sized US and petite European rovers. Recorded in the Mars Yard in Stevenage, Richard and Sue are joined by guests Abbie Hutty from Airbus and science journalist Stuart Clark. Richard a...

Space Alien Special

Richard is at SETI in California to hunt space aliens with the institute's chief astronomer, Seth Shostak. He also reports from the iconic Parkes space telescope in Australia on the Breakthrough Listen hunt for ET. And, in the search for aliens closer ...

Mission Control

This month, Space Boffins highlights the unsung heroes of the space programme - mission controllers. Featuring the director of a new documentary film on mission control, David Fairhhead, we hear from a man at the heart of the Apollo 13 drama, Sue meets...

Space Tomatoes in Urine

SpaceX and NASA compete to get people back to the Moon, Richard meets a man who grows space tomatoes in human urine, and heads to a lab where volunteers are being paid to stay awake. This month, Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are joined by rocket sc...

Space Boffins at Astrofest

The Space Boffins are at Astrofest in London in front of a live audience. Guests include an Antarctic meteorite hunter, the scientist tracking down the Solar System's missing planet and the flight director who's landed a spacecraft on a comet. It's als...

Welcome to Mars

This time, we're journeying to the Ruby Red Planet, Mars. Elon Musk thinks he'll have people there by 2024; NASA will be following closely behind with a touchdown expected in the 2030s. That means that in our lifetime, we will become an interplanetary ...

Double Hubble

Broadcaster Dallas Campbell joins the Space Boffins at the British Interplanetary Society to discuss the giant new replacement for Hubble, hypersonic spaceplanes and balloon flights to the edge of space. They hear from astronaut Ron Garan about Preside...

The End of Night?

As we enter the darkest depths of winter, the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Or at least that's how it's supposed to be. But since the invention of the light bulb, we've long been working towards the end of night. But does this matter? Gra...

The Best of Space Boffins

In a bumper end of year special, Space Boffins features Buzz Aldrin, last man on the Moon Gene Cernan, the nurse to the astronauts, a cosmic piano and a space sofa. Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are joined by space journalist Sarah Cruddas to celeb...

Where is everybody?

Most astrophysicists would agree that it's highly likely that there's life beyond Earth. But then, why haven't we found any? This month on Naked Astronomy, Graihagh Jackson tackles one of the fundamental questions of mankind with Neil deGrasse Tyson, J...

X15: To Infinity and Beyond!

Space Boffins' Sue Nelson was at ESA mission control recently when the ExoMars spacecraft arrived at Mars after a seven month journey. She hears from ExoMars and Open University scientist Dr Manish Patel on the highs and lows of the orbiter and lander ...

Going Gaga Over Gaia

Gaia launched back in 2013 and has been mapping the Milky Way ever since. In fact, it aims to give us the most detailed survey of our galaxy, ever. But is that all its set to do? Graihagh Jackson explores why scientists are going gaga over Gaia...

Roving Over Mars

Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are on Mars - which turns out to be behind a blue door in the Hertfordshire town of Stevenage. With guest Airbus head of science, Ralph Cordey, they discuss the final moments of Rosetta, Europe's latest m...

Nursing NASA's Astronauts

The Space Boffins meet the Mercury 7 nurse, Dee O'Hara, recalling what it was like to work with America's first astronauts. SETI's Seth Shostak explains why we should target AI to discover ET, and - in this US themed podcast - Spaceflight's David Baker...

Connie won a meteorite

Fellow Naked Scientist Connie Orbach won a meteorite and so Graihagh Jackson made it her mission to find out as much as possible about this hunk of space rock, including how she might go about finding one of her own...

From The Blue Dot Festival

The Space Boffins are at the Blue Dot music festival at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire where they hear live music from Cern's cosmic piano and chat to Rosetta project scientist (and space celebrity) Matt Taylor about the end of the mission. Richard also meet...

Jupiter: King of the Planets

NASA's Juno probe has reached Jupiter after a five year battle through our solar system and is orbiting the gas giant. But now it's completed this death-defying stunt, what now? This month on Naked Astronomy, Graihagh Jackson is colluding with the king...

Jupiter's Juno Mission

Jupiter's Juno mission, the magical world of Pluto and spacewalking feature in this special fifth anniversary edition of the podcast. ESA's head of the neutral buoyancy facility, Herve Stenening, explains how a giant pool helped astronaut Tim Peake obt...

Will we ever return to the moon?

It's nearly been 5 decades since Neil Armstrong took one small step for mankind... But will we return again? As things heat up, Graihagh Jackson brings together the cosmically curious to unpick our the drivers behind the marathon to the moon

Hot from Spacefest

Last man on the Moon, Captain Gene Cernan, and Apollo 9 lunar module pilot Rusty Schweickart join Space Boffin Richard at Spacefest in Tucson, Arizona. Apollo 17 commander Cernan expresses his frustration about the state of the space programme and Rust...

Reaching for the Stars

This month, Graihagh Jackson is getting all starry eyed over our Sun. Where did it come from? Where is it going? And what it's taught us about the universe? Plus, the mission that's taking us the closer to the Sun than we've ever been before...

Have you been mis-sold time?

This month the Space Boffins get to grips with relativity, watch as British astronaut Tim Peake manoeuvres a Mars rover in a cave, and go inside a section of NASA's new giant rocket. With their guest, writer and poet Simon Barraclough, they also discus...

Eyes on the Sky for Mercury

On 9 May, Mercury will be seen as a black dot silhouetted against the Sun and this rare event enabled astronomers of the 17th century to work out how vast the universe was. But this transit isn't just phenominally importantly historically: it has huge ...

Riding on a Space Sofa

Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham bring news of space sofas, super flat floors and Martian sunsets. They are joined at The Open University by ExoMars mission principal investigator Dr Manish Patel to discuss his work on the NOMAD instrume...

Adventures in Satspotting

What happens when we turn our astronomical instruments back to planet Earth? With the launch of over 12 satellites, Europe's version of GPS, Galileo, will be operational very soon but why are space scientists getting all excited about it? This month o...

Buzz Aldrin and his master plan for Mars

Buzz Aldrin is the legendary Apollo 11 and Gemini 12 astronaut who made history in 1969 when he became one of the first men to walk on the lunar surface. Today, he has his sights firmly on the future - specifically Mars. The legendary astronaut and vis...