Lost in Space with Prof Ethan Siegel

April 18, 2018

The Lost in Space reboot has landed on Netflix and we gathered in the shed with Prof Ethan Siegel to discuss our first impressions of this big budget new show. A brand new episode of The Cosmic Shed for your listening ears.

Lost in Space is found on Netflix

Nostalgia for the original series is never far away but are we enjoying this new version more?

The original Lost in Space, arguably, wasn't always 100% brilliant

Ti tells us about the ill-fated John Woo directed 2003 reboot that never got beyond pilot and starred Adrienne Palicki.

Was it better than the film?

We couldn't let Ethan go without picking his brains about life in the Universe, the Big Bang and, of course revisiting Star Trek Discovery.

Ethan likes Star Trek

Ethan tells us that The Drake Equation is broken...and how to fix it, and answers a question from Andrew's daughter about where the Big Bang happened. In short, you don't want to miss this.

Will we still be watching this is decades to come? Will Ethan escape without us talking about Star Trek Discovery again ? Will Robinson? There's only one way to find out. Listen to this episode now.

A good way of finding out why time only goes in one direction is to read Starts With a Bang.

Show notes

Ethan first joined us for our episode on Star Trek Discovery. Listen again here
Ti mentions Drunk Histories
Andrew and Ethan get very excited about TESS
You can join Ethan on his Astrotour of Iceland by getting your tickets here



2018 BIS: Mark Hempsell

April 5, 2018

The British Interplanetary Society was founded in 1933 with its primary goal to make space travel happen more than it currently is, even today. We're joined by the current president of the society, Mark Hempsell, who is full of fascinating stories and, at times, controversial opinions about science fiction...


Steve and Maddy sat down with Mark Hempsell after we gathered in the shed to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey.

2001 in the Cosmic Shed (in 2017).

We were planning to celebrate what would have been Arthur C. Clarke's 100th birthday but this conversation with Mark was enough in its own right...and, anyway, what more is there to be said about all that?

Mark has worked on some amazing space missions including the Sklyon


Mark also tells us about another project he worked on to land rockets vertically, way before Elon Musk managed it...

DC-X Flight 8

The BIS is immortalised in the classic book from Arthur C Clarke, "Tales from the White Hart". Mark shares with us the nickname they had for Arthur...listen to the episode to find out what it is and why.


A very special episode concludes with a rather wonderful song from the Wardrobe Ensemble, a theatre group in Bristol who, among other things, make plays with a fair bit of science in them for families. 

Steve's copy of 2001 is heavily annotated.

Show notes

Steve mentions an article but can't remember who wrote it. It's here.

Mark mentions Project Daedalus

This stunning artwork is Dawn of Man by Jordan Collver. Get your own print of his work  here and be the envy of all your friends.


Michaela’s Mission to Mars Update

April 3, 2018

Michaela Musilova's Mission to Mars has come to an abrupt end. Andrew caught up with Michaela to find out why and to see what lessons might be learned and what happens next.

Photo Credit: Michaela Musilova. 

Michaela landed a new role back on Earth. Find out what it is in this brand new episode of the Cosmic Shed...which also features our thoughts on Valerian, The City of a Thousand Planets.

Show Notes
Michaela appeared on our Martian episode back in 2015 as well as this special episode a few weeks ago

Charlotte Hatherley

March 13, 2018

Charlotte Hatherley's True Love album is a Science Fiction infused exploration of heartbreak and love. The single, A Sign, has a video which is essentially a science fiction short by Gavin Rothery (Moon, The Last Man).

If that weren't brilliant enough, Charlotte is also appearing at ESA's Space Rocks at the o2 in London on April 22nd 2018 so we are more than a little excited to bring you this episode of the Cosmic Shed as Andrew and Charlotte talk music, science fiction and space.

A Sign - Charlotte Hatherley's music is infused with science fiction

Charlotte's career began when she joined Ash (Girl From Mars, Star Wars references etc.) and and seen her tour and record with the likes of Bat for Lashes, KT Tunstall and even Bryan Ferry. 

Space Rocks - Charlotte will be at the o2 in London on April 22nd 

Space Rocks is a new event organised by the European Space Agency mixing music and science with some added science fiction. Along with Charlotte Hatherley, there's Tim Peake, Beth Healey, Mark McCaughrean and much more. Yes, we are going. At the time of writing, there are still some tickets available. Join us

How Deep is Your Love? Let's track the movement of the stars of Orion over 3 million years

The video for Charlotte's cover of How Deep is Your Love features ESA imagery showing the way the Orion constellation will change over the next 3 million years and begins with a quote from Carl Sagan. 

Will Andrew try to show his love for space is deeper? Is there really More Than This? Has there ever been a more perfect fit for The Cosmic Shed? How excited are we about Space Rocks? There's only one way to find the answer to these questions...listen to this episode of The Cosmic Shed now.

show notes

You can order Charlotte Hatherley's True Love album here
You can get tickets for Space Rocks here
Charlotte mentions a film but couldn't remember the name of it. She can now.
Mark McCaughrean joined us for our Ambition episode
Beth Healey joined us for our Blue Dot episode
Dallas Campbell joined us for our Gravity Fields episode 


March 8, 2018

It's an undeniable classic. It allegedly changed the course of Ronald Reagan's policies on computer safety. It's painfully relevant even today and it's the subject of this episode of The Cosmic Shed.

Ally Sheedy (Jennifer) can't keep her eyes off the "Amazing Looking" John Wood (Dr Falken).

Steve and Andrew are joined by Ti (from a theatre) to discuss the film before Steve brings us his conversation with Prof Jan Noyes from The University of Bristol's School of Experimental Psychology and Andrew brings us his chat with Dr Dave Tholen from the University of Hawaii's Insitute for Astronomy.

With a real life (albeit a false alarm) ballistic missile threat in Hawaii, we discuss the impact on society of the real life War Games our politicians play. Dave Tholen PhD is a man who researches real threats to life on earth - Asteroids which may collide with Earth. Prof Jan Noyes researches human interactions with technology and her CV includes NASA and GCHQ.

Dave Tholen keeps us safe from Asteroids. Jan Noyes keeps us safe from system error...

We discuss the Hawaian missiles alert including what some people did when they thought they had 30 minutes left, we hear why Steve is thinking of joining a survivalist cult and no, it's not because he heard (as you will) about Andrew running naked down a street...

Ronald Reagan caught an early showing of WarGames but missed the whole point of the film. 

Show notes

Since recording, the person who caused the alert has been sacked. Listen to the episode to find out why that is particulalry interesting.
WarGames is still as good as you remember. Sure it's a bit wonky in the odd scene but it's still wonderful. 
Dave Tholen mentions the list of Near Eearth Objects which you can check here
Andrew mentions Jon Ronson's Buterfly Effect
Andrew also mentions the WarGames: WOPR game for your phone.

Black Panther

February 28, 2018

Black Panther (2018) is smashing records, delighting fans and critics and upsetting racists. Now it's the subject of the latest Cosmic Shed episode. 


Andrew and Ti explore themes of the film with shed guests Alex Lathbridge and Hannah BestwickAlex Lathbridge is a biochemist, science communicator and "the UK's best scientist turned rapper" and yes, we tested that. Hannah Bestwick is a science communicator who presents the Love and Science radio show and co-hosts the XX Science podcast.


We are also joined by Josiah Zayner to find out if we can drink potions and get superstrength. Josiah is most well known, perhaps, for injecting himself with CRISPR technology to get bigger muscles...Yes we asked him about that. He also runs a company called The Odin and is trying to bring genetic engineering to the public.


Can we drink potions to get big muscles? Will the shed experience its first rap? Why on earth did Josiah leave NASA? Will his Mum ever forgive him? Will Andrew? Is Black Panther as awesome as everybody keeps saying?

There's only one way to find the answer to all these questions; download and listen to this episode of the Cosmic Shed now.

Show notes

Josiah Zayner runs The Odin and was talking to Andrew and Maddy
Hannah Bestwick presents Love and Science on BCFM (with Malcolm Love and Andrew)
Alex Lathbridge mentioned Cheddar Man and the Why Aren't you a Doctor Yet podcast

Michaela Musilova is going back to Mars!

February 13, 2018

Michaela Musilova is a space scientist who has Mars in her sights. One day, she aims to set foot on the Martian surface for real and, unlike the rest of us who dream of that, she stands a pretty good chance. Michaela has been selected to live in an analogue of Mars for 8 months starting in February 2018. She and three other people will be living in this...for 8 (EIGHT) months.


The purpose of the mission is to see how people (astronauts) would cope on a 2 year mission to Mars. This 8 month experiment puts Michaela and her three crew mates in a simulated Mars environment with only supplies that they can take with them from day one or grow or fabricate from materials which would be available on Mars.

Michaela will be sending us, here at the Cosmic Shed, weekly updates from the "Martian surface" and we'll be bringing them to you in our episodes over the next 8 months. We are all just a little bit too excited about that.


Listen out for Michaela in our forthcoming episodes but first, Michaela took time out to chat to Andrew about her forthcoming mission and you can listen to that here, now.

Show notes

Michaela appeared also appeared on our Martian episode back in 2015
Ben popped in for a poem. 


Peter Beck, Falcon Heavy and the Humanity Star

February 7, 2018

A rocket fuelled episode with CEO of Rocket Lab; Peter Beck!

On the night SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy and a cherry red Tesla into space, Steve and Andrew gathered in the shed to watch it and then speak to Peter Beck, the CEO of Rocket Lab and the man who launched The Humanity Star into space.

The Cosmic Shed is a pretty decent place to watch a rocket launch...

The Humanity Star has been met with, it's safe to say, mixed reviews. Some love it. Others question it, including previous guests on the Cosmic Shed, like NASA's Renee Horton.


and BBC Astronauts' Tim Gregory



Did Peter put Renee's mind at rest? Will Tim be convinced? Will Rocket Lab launch Andrew's campervan into Space or were we all just far too excited about the SpaceX launch to even care? Listen here now and find out.

The Humanity Star looks like this on Earth, by the way...

Show notes

If you'd like to try and see The Humanity Star, you can track it here
Rewatch the amazing Falcon Heavy launch here
r Renee Horton joined us for our episode on Hidden Figures
im Gregory joined us for our episode on BBC's Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?

Artemis: Andy Weir recorded live in the Planetarium

January 10, 2018

A very special episode of the Cosmic Shed as we bring you the audio from last night's wonderful evening in the Planetarium with Andy Weir, author of Artemis and The Martian in collaboration with the wonderful Bristol Sunset Cinema.

Andy Weir is no stranger to the Cosmic Shed, having appeared on two of our episodes before so we were delighted to be able to bring him to one of our live events here in Bristol for this very special night in We The Curious planetarium

Left to right: Timon Singh, Andrew Glester, Andy Weir, Antonia Forster, Chris Followell and Maddy Nichols

Andrew shows the audience the page that brought a tear to his eye while Andy can't keep his eyes off the Moon's surface.

Andy kept us entertained all night and, as you can see, Tim Peake's fan...and so are we.

You'll have to listen to the episode to find out why Andy Weir signed Andrew's book to "Dudley". For the record, Dudders loves his new nickname...after all, Andy Weir gave it to him.

Thank you so much to all of you who came along. It was great to meet many of you. See you at the next event!

Gremlins - Zach Galligan

December 22, 2017

Zach Galligan played Billy in the Gremlins films and joined us here on The Cosmic Shed to talk about what it was like playing arcade games with Steven Spielberg, starring alongside Pheobe Cates and the possibilities of Gremlins 3.


We used a flash for this photo and you will be delighted to hear that Zach, without hesitation, exclaimed, "BRIGHT LIGHT!"


Ready Player One?

Show notes

Andrew and Ti were talking to Zach at For The Love of Sci-Fi in Manchester, December 2017.

Chewbacca - Joonas Suamoto

December 8, 2017

Joonas Suatamo talks to The Cosmic Shed.

Chewbacca is, let's face it, the best character in all of Star Wars so he needs no introduction. Based, allegedly, on George Lucas's dog and played until recently by Peter Mayhew, everyone's favourite Wookie is about to appear once again on our screens in The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story

Ti and Andrew met him at For the Love of Sci-Fi in December 2017 and they also met Joonas Suamoto, the man who plays Chewbacca in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and the Han Solo film.


Ti, Joonas and Andrew.

Joonas tells us all about taking over the role from the legendary Peter Mayhew, what it's like on set with J J Abrams and Harrison Ford, and how exactly you go from Basketball player to film star.


Ti, Chewbacca and Andrew

Show notes

Bucket list items ticked off.

Andrew mentions an interview we did with Starship Troopers star Casper Van Dien. You can see that here.


Blue Planet 2

December 1, 2017

They scoured the oceans to bring us the most breathtaking imagery, never seen before behaviours and unforgettable creatures. They've used brand new, specially created cameras to bring us the very best films of our oceans we could possibly imagine. They've seen fish eating birds, octopuses outwitting sharks in ways we never thought possible and seen different species gathering together to hunt in cooperation with each other.

Now, they've been to the Cosmic Shed. Yes, that's right. They've finally made it. John Chambers (Assistant Producer), Sophie Morgan (Researcher) and Alex Vail join Maddy, Steve and Andrew in the Cosmic Shed to chat about the making of this stunning, landmark series.

We find out about some of the amazing technology they used to bring us the oceans like never before.


And reveal what it's like to spend so long among the wonders of the deep oceans.


They even deal with questions like whether turtles watch their footage...


So download the episode, put on your favourite headphones, sit back and imagine you're in the shed...or on location in the Pacific Ocean. The choice is yours.

Show notes

During the episode, Andrew asked Sophie Morgan which behaviours she had found by reading scientific papers. Sophie told us that she had found something really remarkable which they had managed to film but she could not tell us what it was as it was embargoed at the time of recording. We can now reveal that Sophie's reading of scientific papers means that we can enjoy this stunning sequence of behaviour.


Many thanks to Mrs. Haworth's Year 8 Geography class at Haslingden High School for all your wonderful questions


And, of course thank you to all of you who suggested questions via our various social media platforms/channels/things. You can follow us on twitter @thecosmicshed and on Facebook here.

All of the pictures (apart from the ones of Post-it notes) are provided by the BBC.

Update: Here's Mrs. Haworth's class listening to the episode in class. Best. Teacher. Ever.



Blade Runner 2049 - Making the Look of the Film

November 29, 2017

The people who made the on screen technology in Blade Runner 2049 are Territory Studio. In other words, one of the main reasons you and we love the way Blade Runner 2049 looks is because Peter Eszenyi and Andrew Popplestone made things like this:


So we were really rather delighted when they joined us for this very special episode of the Cosmic Shed.

Just so we are clear, they make things like this:


and this:


So you probably want to stop reading this and start listening to the podcast now but in case you want to see more, here is their showreel.

Oh go on then, just one more:


Oh, we should probably mention that they also worked on The Martian, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ex Machina.

But you really need to get on with listening to the podcast episode now.

Show notes



Douglas Vakoch on Star Trek Discovery and Contacting Aliens

November 24, 2017

Douglas Vakoch is an American search for extraterrestrial intelligence researcher, psychologist, and president of METI and he joined Andrew to discuss Star Trek Discovery, the Pahvan species and his own attempts, through METI to contact potential aliens (relatively) close to Planet Earth in real life.

What would happen if we did make first contact? Will we really hear anything back from this message?

Douglas and the team at METI have just beamed a radio message out into the Cosmos to let any aliens on a particular planet know that we are here. Not everybody is happy about us letting know aliens are out there. We've all seen science fiction, right? Andrew and Douglas discuss the potential threats and come down very much on one side of the argument...

Show notes

Star Trek Discovery so currently on a mid season break so you might like to take some time out to listen to our other episode on the series with Prof Ethan Siegel

The Physics of Star Wars

November 22, 2017

With the Last Jedi just around the corner, we gathered in the shed to discuss the Physics of Star Wars, a rather lovely new book by Dr Patrick Johnson.

Patrick's book finally persuaded us that we could do an episode on Star Wars after all. So here it is. Thanks Patrick.


Patrick is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Georgetown University and, fairly obviously, the author of The Physics of Star Wars.

Show notes

Attack of the Clones isn't very good.