In a special episode, we look back on progress in science beyond Earth during 2013, and discuss what space-based discoveries may be in store for the coming year.
With the Confirmation of Water on the Red Planet, Where to Hunt Next for Martian Life?
There was plenty of news from Mars last year, where the hunt for alien life continues. Water, thought to be a vital sign of this life, has been a much searched-for substance over the course of 2013, and scientists’ research efforts have yielded a number of key results. BBC Science correspondent Jonathan Amos joins us to discuss the findings, and to look forward to what and where NASA’s Curiosity Rover will be seeking in 2014.
Learning from the Chelyabinsk Meteor Strike
The Chelyabinsk meteor strike on 15 February 2013 produced an explosion equivalent to about half a million tonnes of TNT – around 30 times the explosive power of the bombs that were dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. Scientists were kept busy analysing the unprecedented amount of data received from watching drivers’ dashboard cameras, as well as recorded infrasound waves, for much of the year. In November, Professor Peter Brown and colleagues at Western University in Ontario, Canada, along with researchers in Russia, revealed their findings about the origin of the Chelyabinsk airburst event, alongside a 20-year analysis of similar-sized strikes that indicates these events may occur every 30 to 40 years rather than every 150 years as previously thought.
India and China: A New Space Race?
With launches from both China and India last year, commentators have raised questions about an Asian Space race. In December, whilst India’s Mangalyaan mission struck out for Mars, China’s Yutu – or Jade Rabbit – Rover became the first robotic rover to land on the moon for 40 years. We discuss the benefits and Space future for both countries with BBC Science correspondent, Jonathan Amos.
Finally, Jonathan Amos shares what he’s looking forward to in the coming year’s Space news.
Presenter: Jon Stewart
Producer: Jen Whyntie
(Caption: This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover - Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)