What is the future of space flight? With a successful Nasa landing on Mars and more commercial space travel in development than ever before, astronautical engineers are taking us into a new age. From lift off to landing, rapid innovations are radically changing what's possible and bringing us much closer to outer space. Presenter Kevin Fong meets Adam Steltzner, Nasa's chief engineer for the 2020 Mission to Mars, Anuradha TK, Geosat programme director for the Indian Space Research...
Taking place over just eight months, four perilous and eventful space missions laid the foundations for a successful Moon landing. Each pushed the boundaries of technology and revealed new insights into our own planet. As we count down to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, astronaut Nicole Stott tells the story of the build-up to mankind’s giant leap.
Introducing the new podcast about how humans reached the moon. Theme music by Hans Zimmer.
Search for 13 Minutes to the Moon or go to www.bbcworldservice.com/13Minutes
A singing spaceman, a refugee who wants to beat gravity and a cosmonaut stuck in orbit. Three amazing stories from Outlook.
Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield spent five months living on the International Space Station and won an online audience of millions with his tweets about daily life and his music recordings. Nujeen Mustafa was born with cerebral palsy, and for most of the first 16 years of her life had barely left her home in the Syrian city of Aleppo. She now lives in...
Governing moon miners, asteroid hunters and space junk sounds pretty tricky, but we better get our act together. This year the majority of space launches included commercial enterprises. Space is no longer just the playground of governments but companies; companies that want to mine the moon for water that they could sell as rocket fuel, companies that want to mine the moon for helium -3 which could be sold and used as energy back on earth and companies that want to mine asteroids for...
If history had been kinder, aviator Wally Funk might have become the first woman on the Moon. In the early 1960s, she was one of 13 female pilots who passed the same physical tests as the Mercury 7 astronauts. Unfortunately her chance never came and no one has walked on the Moon since 1972, after the cancellation of the Apollo space programme. But today, space agencies and commercial companies around the world are preparing to return to the lunar surface and Wally meets the scientists and...
After 20 years in space, NASA’s Cassini-Huygens mission is coming to an end. But it will go out with one big bang. Launched in 1997 on a billion-mile trek to Saturn, Cassini has transformed our knowledge of the planet, its rings and more than sixty moons. The spacecraft has discovered plumes of water on the moon Enceladus and the European Huygens lander has snapped images of Titan’s surface, revealing riverbeds, lakes and mountains carved by liquid methane. Both moons are possible candidates...
Voyager 1 and 2: Still operating after 40 years in the depths of space. Voyager 1 is currently some 20 billion kilometres from Earth travelling at 15.5 kilometres a second. It takes 19 hours for a signal from the spacecraft's 20 watt transmitter to reach home. Voyager 2 is 17 billion kilometres away and will soon leave the Solar System.
Launched in 1977, the twin spacecrafts have explored the giant planets and their strange moons, investigated the boundary of the Solar System and changed...
Extra-terrestrials or other signs of life - is there anybody beyond planet Earth? Are we alone in space? It wasn’t until the late 1960s that humans started an organised, systematic hunt for intelligent life. We have listened to radio waves, peered through the celestial dust and beamed The Beatles to distant planets. So how’s it going? Is there anybody out there? This is the story of the search for extra-terrestrial life.
Presenter: Helena Merriman
(Photo: The ALMA, an international...
The plans to set up human colonies in space and spaceships that will take us to the stars. Richard Hollingham travels to the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Chattanooga, Tennessee to meet scientists, engineers, doctors and anthropologists who are working on it.
These are not dreamers - although they all have an ambitious dream - but well qualified experts. Several work at Nasa, others have day jobs at universities and research institutes.
Richard hears of proposals to build...
The official space agencies and programmes on the continent of Africa. Space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock visits Nigeria, her father's birthplace, and asks why African nations are apparently so keen to journey into the future as a space-going continent. She finds people there are excited about space exploration and discovers her roots in a town where, according to Yoruba mythology, the world was created. But ultimately she wants to find out if space programmes restore a continent’s pride or...
Why African nations are so keen to journey into the future as a space-going continent. Space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock visits Nigeria, the birthplace of her father, to explore the passionate desire among some to fly against the continent’s impoverished stereotype and join the space race. And, what of the financial commitment required to achieve these dreams in countries where it is sometimes a struggle to keep the lights on?
"Quite a few false starts have been made in Africa," wrote...
Nasa is planning a manned mission to Mars. But the challenges are enormous. Astronaut Scott Kelly has just returned to Earth after almost a year in space aboard the International Space Station. His mission was to understand what a long period in zero gravity does to the human body. The research is a vital part of preparing to send a manned mission to Mars. In 2010 President Obama tasked the US Space Agency Nasa with the goal of putting an astronaut in Martian orbit, and later to land on the...
The first footsteps on the Moon were one giant step for 'man', but from the early days of aeronautics women have also been involved in space travel. Presenter, pilot and aspiring astronaut Wally Funk pays tribute to the pioneers, meets some of those involved within today’s space industry, and hears from the woman who might be among the crew for the first human mission to Mars.
Wally has first hand experience of the early days of space travel in America. She undertook secret tests to...
On Christmas Day 2003, a British space craft was due to land on Mars and begin searching for signs of life. The late Professor Colin Pillinger describes the daring mission. Originally broadcast December 2015.
What does the future hold for human space exploration? With more countries getting involved and costs falling, ambitious projects are being proposed. Broadcast December 2015.
Mountains straight out of Tolkien, catastrophic floods and streams gushing with boiling and freezing water. Kevin Fong tours Mars. Originally broadcast 29 April 2013.
Kevin Fong visits landscapes that inspire scientists and artists to imagine, including volcanoes that dwarf Everest and extreme canyons. Originally broadcast 22 April 2013.
In 1979, the American space station, Skylab, re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. Large fragments hit SW Australia instead of the Indian Ocean. Originally broadcast 11 July 2013.
How science, engineering and medicine come together to get fragile human life safely into space. Where should our ambitions lie? Originally broadcast 31 December 2015.
How science, engineering and medicine are trying to understand the limits of human physiology to ensure survival in space. Originally broadcast 30 December 2015.
Commander Chris Hadfield, former commander of the International Space Station, chooses the eight discs he would take to a desert island. Originally broadcast 20 December 2015.
In 1970, three American astronauts were heading to the moon when disaster struck. Astronaut Fred Haise describes what happened. Originally broadcast 14 April 2010.
Why has the moon fascinated humans for so long? The moon in culture, how it affects life on Earth and what the moon is really like. Originally broadcast 21 July 2014.