TWO MINUTES WITH Dara Ó Briain
When did you become interested in astronomy?
Growing up in Ireland, my anchor in the sky was Ursa Major, but as I got older that interest moved towards cosmology and relativity and all the yummy maths that underpinned them. It was quite refreshing to get on to Stargazing Live and start actually looking at things again, rather than equations.
ESA has yet to send an Irish astronaut into space. Would you like to be the first?
Depending on the scale of the mission, yes. A quick trip to the ISS would be perfect, colonising Mars less so. I don’t have three years to spare at the moment; I’m about to go on tour and I have weeks to mock and robots to send to war. But I could do a week on the ISS.
What are you hoping readers of the book will take from it?
Lots of cool facts about space and hopefully some ideas about the many different ways to explore it. Astronauts are cool, but very few of us will get to be astronauts. Lots more of us could help build a probe to orbit Saturn, say – I hear there’s a gap in the market right now.
What do you think should be humanity’s next big space project?
I think it’s time there was somebody waving at us from the Moon again, don’t you? In interactive 4K hi-def, running science lessons in real time to kids all over the world. That shouldn’t be difficult to do, and imagine the face of your average eight-year-old watching that.
DARA Ó BRIAIN is a comedian and television presenter, who co-hosts Stargazing Live