Space Zombies

Neutron stars, astronaut recruitment and Yuri Gagarin are up for discussion this month...
11 February 2021
Presented by Richard Hollingham, Sue Nelson
Production by Richard Hollingham.


Artists impression of a neutron star


This month science journalist Katia Moskvitch joins the Space Boffins to discuss the zombies of the cosmos, neutron stars, the European Space Agency's new astronaut recruitment, and Yuri Gagarin’s birthplace. They also hear about the new communications system fitted to the space station, ColKA, and talk to author Neal Thompson about the Don Draper of astronauts, Alan Shepard. And see if you agree with Richard’s controversial comment about America’s first astronaut!


Hi guys, from Lexington, Kentucky USA I just wanted to take a minute to cast a slightly leaning vote towards Richard on the great debate of the final 2:00 of this episode.

While I agree that he "just made up" his claim that Shepard is less well known in America than other astronauts the truth is that I would also "just make up" the same thing if pressed on the question.

And while it is true, as commented, that America has a strong nationalistic streak I do not really see that having much to do at all with being able to identify Shepard's name on a list of famous people in the country's history. The jingoism is more likely apparent in broader claims that America has "more freedom" than any other country in the world and it is patriotic that more Americans have large gun and ammunition collections than other citizens around the world.

I would not say that it is an overly dramatic and decisive victory for Richard on this one, but rather a slight victory. But, in competition, a win is a win.

Good Luck!

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