How do we explore space and land robots on Mars, and how are young UK scientists leading the world in this exciting journey?
In a new series of fun-filled videos made in conjunction with the UK Space Agency, six space scientists and planetary explorers chat with astrobiologist (and BBC Focus regular) Prof Lewis Dartnell and games presenters Cam and Seb chat through the medium of what they do best – playing video games.
Each video features a different space-themed game being played live, while the hosts and guest chat about the themes it explores: the real science behind the game, how we are exploring space and planets like Mars right now, and how young UK scientists are leading this exploration. We also get a great insight into what the guest’s fascinating job is all about, how they are involved in our quest across the Solar System, and what they hope to discover.
“We wanted to work with video games as I think it’s a great way to connect with a young audience,” says Lewis. “Games are a lot of fun, and throw up plenty of interesting points that we can talk about with the scientist”
Things don’t always go right for them along the way (especially the poor Kerbal astronauts!) but there are lots of laughs, and plenty of fascinating chat with the scientists and engineers. Each game also comes with a separate Q&A video where the featured scientist or engineer answers all the weird and wonderful questions submitted by the online audience. How do you build a robot to explore Mars? What is it like living in Antarctica? And, errr, what happens if you fart in space..?
Here’s the full list of videos so you can jump to your favourite and find out which is the most accurate space game (hint – it’s not CoD:Infinite Warfare, obvs):
Space Engineers, with Manish Patel
How is Manish building instruments to study Mars’ atmosphere up-close and hopefully find signs of the methane breath of underground martian bacteria?