Sky at Night Magazine - - BOOKS REVIEWS -

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

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