The Cosmic Shed
The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story

April 16, 2020

Riding our luck dragon all the way, we bring you a brand new episode of The Cosmic Shed from deep in the Coronavirus Lockdown. It's The Neverending Story.

The Luck Dragon will take you almost all the way through your expedition

We're joined by Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, Director of the 60 million dollar Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope which is operated by a consortium of 21 institutions spanning 6 countries and involving 270 individual researchers...which is nice but also exceedingly relevant as Melanie and her team have just discovered the biggest explosion in space since the Big Bang. The radio data which the scientists have been studying changes the way we think about Supermassive Black Holes.

The massive burst occured in the vicinity of the Ophicius Cluster

Andrew manages to spend most of the podcast pretending that this is the reason why he decided to do an episode of The Cosmic Shed on The Neverending Story. After all, Black Holes are pretty much as close to The Nothing as Nature gets...but later on in the episode we discover what might just have been his true reasoning...

Engywook would approve. We move in Scientific Circles.

In "the shed" are Andrew, Maddy, Steve, Ti and Tushna and Ben even drops in for a poem. It's been too long.

Download to your favourite podcast delivery system and listen in now...

show notes

See if you can pick out all the cameos in the Ivory Tower here
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast


Amy Bean - Moonwalker’s Daughter.

Amy Bean - Moonwalker’s Daughter.

March 30, 2020

We're delighted to welcome Amy Bean, daughter of Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean to The Cosmic Shed for this special episode. 

When Alan Bean walked on the surface of the Moon, his daughter looked on from planet Earth.

What was that like for a young girl growing up in the Houston at the height of the Space Race? What was Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the Moon like as a dad? How does it feel when your dad's rocket is hit by lightning just after take off? All this and much more in this episode of The Cosmic Shed podcast.

Amy Bean and her Dad Alan Bean, 4th Man to walk on the Moon
Amy Bean with her Moonwalking Dad Alan Bean. Photo credit: Amy Bean.

Alan Bean was the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 12 and the fourth man to walk on the moon. He was the commander of Skylab 3, spending 59 days in orbit around the Earth and became an artist. Listen to his daughter share her story and the story of her father, the first artist to set foot on another world. 

Alan Bean - The First Artist in Space.

Show notes

Alan Bean's Art website is here
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast
Amy Bean was talking to Andrew Glester.

Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

March 5, 2020

We're delighted to be able to bring you this panel discussion from Bristol's Festival of Ideas, in collaboration with Bristol's Women's Literature Festival and Handheld Press, recorded live in Foyles in Bristol.

The Panel


Emma Geen is a Bristol based author and lecturer in Creative writing. Her first novel The Many Selves of Katherine North was published by Bloomsbury. Several of her short stories feature in Stories of the Stranger, published by Bene Factum Publishing, Her articles have appeared in The Guardian, Lit Hub and The New Statesman. She is an associate lecturer at Bath Spa University.


Liz Williams is a British science fiction writer. The Ghost Sister, her first novel, was published in 2001. Both this novel and her next, Empire of Bones (2002) were nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. She is also the author of the Inspector Chen series. She is the daughter of a stage magician and a Gothic novelist. She holds a PhD in Philosophy of Science from Cambridge. She has had short stories published in Asimov’sInterzoneThe Third Alternative and Visionary Tongue.


Cheryl Morgan is a science fiction critic and publisher. She is the owner of Wizard’s Tower Press and the Wizard’s Tower Books ebook store. Previously she edited the Hugo Award winning magazine, Emerald City (Best Fanzine, 2004). She also won a Hugo for Best Fan Writer in 2009. She is a Co-Chair of Out Stories Bristol and lectures regularly on both trans history and science fiction and fantasy literature.


Kate Macdonald is a literary historian and has taught and researched science fiction and fantasy fiction for many years. She reviews sff for Foundation and other critical organs, and has recently had some of her own sff short stories published. She runs Handheld Press, an independent publishing company based outside Bath, which specialises in the recovery of forgotten fiction, and has republished classic fantasy fiction by Sylvia Townsend Warner, and science fiction by Rose Macaulay and Vonda N McIntyre.

Download, relax and listen. Then buy all the books.

show notes

The Cosmic Shed was named as one of the Guardian's Favourite podcasts and you can subscribe here
The panel were talking as part of Bristol's Festival of Ideas
The event was also put on by Bristol's Womens Literature Festival
You can hear our interview with William Gibson here

Stanley Donwood’s Bad Island

Stanley Donwood’s Bad Island

February 12, 2020

Stanley Donwood's Bad Island is an extraordinary book. A Graphic Novel with no words. The story told only with pictures. Ideal for a podcast...

We're joined by artist Stanley Donwood, perhaps best known for producing all the cover art for all of Radiohead's albums, or perhaps for creating much of the artwork alongside the Glastonbury Festival or perhaps very soon to be best known for Bad Island.

Jess is not massive nor Stanley tiny: These are two different images

Jess Howard interviews Stanley for this episode, her first appearance on The Cosmic Shed podcast. Stanley tells Jess about working on Radiohead's album covers, working on the book and a whole lot more besides.

The frogs in the pond near the shed are enjoying the warmer, ice free weather this February

Settle in, download, pop on some headphones and press play.

show notes

You can get Bad Island here

William Gibson Interview

William Gibson Interview

February 5, 2020

The legendary author of the Neuromancer Trilogy, William Gibson joins us for this special episode of The Cosmic Shed. He gave us the term "cyberspace", is widely credited with inspiring much if not all of "cyberpunk". The concept of the Matrix is from his mind and he has won multiple awards for his science fiction writing.

He joins Andrew and Steve to discuss his new novel Agency and what goes into his celebrated works.

Andrew and Steve with William Gibson at Bristol's Festival of Ideas

You'll also hear William's thoughts on the forthcoming, big budget adaptation of his novel Peripheral for Amazon Prime.

show notes

William Gibson was talking to Andrew and Steve at Bristol's Festival of Ideas
They were in We The Curious, where we also tend to do our live events
You can buy William's books here.
Andrew mentions one of our episodes with Andy Weir.

Seven Worlds, One Planet - Chadden Hunter

Seven Worlds, One Planet - Chadden Hunter

January 22, 2020

There maybe seven worlds but there's only one Chadden Hunter, Producer/Director of landmark BBC Natural History series like Frozen Planet, Planet Earth 2 and the stunning Seven Worlds, One Planet.

On a very chilly evening in January, Chadden joined Andrew in The Cosmic Shed to talk about the wonderful news series from the BBC's legendary Natural History Unit. The series takes viewers on spectacular journeys through the seven continents on this planet of ours. It is currently playing out on TV screens across the world and on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Chadden and Andrew were also joined in the shed by Emma Brisdion, host of the wonderful For What it's Earth podcast which is part of the Stimulus Network.

Emma's serious, and cold, face as Chadden tells us about his encounter with Polar bears

Chadden shares some of the secrets of the trade and just what goes into making a stunning series of films like the BBC's Seven Worlds, One Planet.

Chilly Chadden the Fortune Teller - it's actually an astronaut lamp

It really was a cold night so pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa, sit back and let Chadden's tales take you to far flung lands in this episode of The Cosmic Shed podcast.

show notes

You can hear about Emma Brisdion's Arctic adventure on our Spirit of Apollo episode
Chadden Hunter came to the shed before for an episode on Planet Earth 2
You could and should subscribe to Emma's podcast For What It's Earth

Mission to Mars - Sensoria

Mission to Mars - Sensoria

January 16, 2020

We travel to Mars for this special episode of The Cosmic Shed as we hear from the crew of the Sensoria Mission to Mars. The crew are actually in a Martian Habitat as part of an analogue mission, paving the way for future missions to the red planet.

The crew have been largely stuck in the Habitat, thanks to the "Martian" weather, but recorded this podcast for us just before going out on an EVA.

One of the crew on an EVA on Analogue Mars

We hear about the mission goals and how its going so far. Of course, we also hear about the science fiction they have been watching and reading so far.

The crew take part in scientific research while they are on "Mars" which informs future space missions. 

Makiah Eustace, Habitat Operations Officer, inside the Hab

The crew are:

J.J. Hastings - Commander + Bioengineer
Erin Bonilla - Vice Commander + Medical Officer
Dr. Sian Proctor - Communications Officer + Geoscientist
Dr. Adriana Blachowicz - Science Officer + Microbiologist
Maraia Hoffman - Engineering Officer + Crew Training Manager
Makiah Eustace - Habitat Operations Officer + Aerospace Engineer

The Sensoria 6 before they entered The Hab to start their mission to Mars

So press play or download to your favourite podcast app and don some headphones as we travel to Mars in the capable hands of the Sensoria 6.

show notes
All photos (c) Makiah Eustace @astro_eustace on Instagram
You can hear our episode with Andy Weir chatting with us about Artemis here
You can hear Michaela Musilova talking about the Hi-Seas missions here
You can also hear Michaela on our Martian episode, with Andy Weir, back in 2015
You can hear our Contact episode with Jill Tarter here
You can find out more about Sensoria here

Tron - The Cosmic Shed Live in the We The Curious Planetarium

Tron - The Cosmic Shed Live in the We The Curious Planetarium

December 11, 2019

Last night, we gathered in the Planetarium at We The Curious and watched TRON. Before we settled in for the classic 80s sci-fi film, Ti and Andrew discussed TRON and the science of computer games with friend of The Cosmic Shed, Dr Pete Etchells. This is the recording of The Cosmic Shed presents TRON in the Planetarium at We The Curious.

Andrew, Dr Pete Etchells and Ti in We The Curious Planetarium

Such a fun night topped off perfectly with TRON on that wonderful domed Planetarium roof.

Previous Cosmic Shed Guest David Warner in TRON

The evening was in aid of the wonderful Special Effect.

show notes

You can get Dr Pete Etchells' book Lost in a Good Game here
You can get Ti's book Born to be Bad here

HBO’s Chernobyl

HBO’s Chernobyl

December 4, 2019

We try to separate fact from fiction and our love for the HBO series Chernobyl from our dislike of misleading information about nuclear power in this brand new episode of The Cosmic Shed.

We are joined by two professors and someone who won an Oscar too so download and listen in.

HBO's Chernobyl comes to The Cosmic Shed

Professor Neil Willey of UWE Bristol and Professor Tom Scott of The University of Bristol join Andrew and Steve to explore the science of Chernobyl, both in the real world and in the on screen version. Professor Neil Willey has been part of the TREE study looking into the effects of Chernobyl and Professor Tom Scott's research with the South West Nuclear Hub includes, among other things, a real life Iron Man suit.

Professor Tom Scott and his Iron Man suit. Photo: South West Nuclear Hub

Also joining us to discuss the work his company DNEG did for the wonderful looking Chernobyl is Paul Franklin, the man who won the Oscar for the special effects in Interstellar.

Andrew met Paul Franklin at MCM Comiccon in London

Oh and Ti pops in to tell us about his trip to Chernobyl. Sorry no photos here but keep an eye on our twitter. Don't forget to get your tickets for Tron in the Planetarium on December 10th 2019.

show notes

Steve mentions these videos from the South West Nuclear Hub.
Andrew mentions the More or Less podcast from the BBC.
Professor Neil Willey mentions the TREE consortium report.
You can hear the rest of Andrew's interview with Paul Franklin on the Physics World Stories podcast.

Destination Star Trek and ESA

Destination Star Trek and ESA

October 26, 2019

Ti brings you interviews with the first ESA Astronaut to captain the International Space Station (Frank De Winne), Chase Masterson (Leeta in Deep Space Nine), Lead Scientist on the Rosetta Mission (Matt Taylor), The Trekkie Girls, Dr Nicol Caplin and J.G Herzler (Martok in Deep Space Nine) as he reports back from Destination Star Trek 2019.

Chase Masterson joins us for this episode of The Cosmic Shed

We hear about the exciting missions ESA have planned as we explore comets, planets, the moon and more around our solar system.

The Trekkie Girls met Ti at Destination Star Trek

J.G Hertzler and Chase Masterson share their memories of the late Aron Eisenberg who played Nog in Deep Space Nine

Frank De Winne is the second Captain of the ISS to appear on The Cosmic Shed

Show notes

Tickets for Tron Fest are available from
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
Ti was at Destination Star Trek
The first Commander of the International Space Station to appear on The Cosmic Shed was Cmdr Chris Hadfield


An alien planet with water and Ad Astra

An alien planet with water and Ad Astra

September 22, 2019

Scientists have announced the first ever discovery of water vapour on an alien world outside our solar system. We bring you the lead author on the paper that made the discovery Professor Giovanna Tinetti of University College London in this episode of The Cosmic Shed.

An artists impression of K2-18b (not a Star Wars Droid but a watery exoplanet)

Just a few years ago, exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars than our own) were theorised but we'd never actually detected any. With improving techniques, telescopes and technology, astronomers have now found over 4000 and begun to be able to peak into their atmospheres. It's worth stopping for a moment to think about. Planets orbiting stars lightyears away from Earth and astronomers can peer into the their atmosphere by analysing the light signatures. Truly astounding. Perhaps even more wonderfully, one of the very first planets to reveal its atmosphere to us has revealed water vapour.

Water is essential for life on Earth. 

Listen now to Professor Giovanna Tinetti on The Cosmic Shed.

Prof Giovanna Tinetti tells The Cosmic Shed about the watery exoplanet K2-18b 

If you want to gaze up at K2-18b and wonder what might be floating or wandering around there, you'll find the star it orbits around the constellation of Leo.

We also discuss Ad Astra.

Brad Pitt in Ad Astra

Show notes

Get your tickets for our double bill of Tron and Tron Legacy with added science here.

Life After the Navigator (and on the Moon)

Life After the Navigator (and on the Moon)

August 14, 2019

We travel back to the 1986 classic Flight of the Navigator as we talk to Lisa Downs, the film maker in the midst of producing Life After the Navigator, a documentary tracking what has happened to Joey Cramer, star of the Disney film.

Lisa Downs with Joey Cramer filming Live After the Navigator (c) Lisa Downs

Lisa and Andrew discuss their love of the 80s classic scifi and Lisa tells us about the wonderful film she is making about Joey Cramer, the child star at the centre of the film and some dramatic real life stories.

Lisa Downs and our Andrew

This being The Cosmic Shed, we find time to bring you some wonderful science too so we catch up with Dr Nicol Caplin, Astrobiologist at the European Space Agency to talk about those tardigrades on the Moon. Are they as big an issue as some are making out?

Dr Nicol Caplin (ESA) and our Andrew discuss those Tardigrades on the Moon

Nicol also gives us some details on how you can visit ESA in the Netherlands for their open day in October 2019

Download, sit back and let time slip by.

show notes

Life After Flash is here 
The teaser for Life after The Navigator is here
You can get tickets for Tron Fest here
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network

The Cosmic Shed Live - TRON in the Planetarium

The Cosmic Shed Live - TRON in the Planetarium

August 7, 2019

We're delighted to announce TRON in the Planetarium at We Curious in Bristol on December 10th 2019. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW

Continuing our series of Classic Sci-fi in the Planetarium at Christmas, The Cosmic Shed returns with a brand new live event and screening. We'll delve into the science for around 20 minutes or so before we all settle in for the wonderful TRON.

We will be joined on the day by Dr Pete Etchells, author of Lost in a Good Game as we explore the wonder of the films and whether the headlines we read about gaming being bad for us and to blame for much of society's ills are true...

We're doing it all in aid of Special Effect, the wonderful charity who help disabled people to get gaming.

Let your friends know you are going and invite them to come along with our Facebook event

Do you believe in the users?

Last few TICKETS remaining. Get yours HERE


The wonderful people at Icon Book are giving one copy of Pete's book "Lost in a Good Game" for the first 30* lots of tickets sold for what we are calling Tron-Fest

*One book per transaction. Book to be collected at Tron-Fest from Pete himself!

Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek

Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek

August 6, 2019

Manu Saadia is the author of Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek and he joins us for this episode of The Cosmic Shed podcast.

Obviously, we're no strangers to Star Trek with previous guests including Marina Sirtis, Nichelle Nichols and Benedict Cumberbatch but economics is new to us. Those who came to our live event with Andy Weir will know that our Andrew has something of a disdain for economics but add Star Trek to it and he, and we, are all ears.

Talking economics and Star Trek is fun. Ti, Andrew and Manu.

We also announce the winners of our From The Earth to the Moon competition and there's a treat (in the form of a sneak peak at our forthcoming announcement) at the very end. Apparently people don't listen to the end of podcasts but we know you guys do so thanks again for listening.

We hope you enjoy this new episode.

show notes

Manu was talking to Andrew and Ti.
You can buy Manu's book here

You can hear our episode with Marina Sirtis here
Previous episodes of The Cosmic Shed where we have discussed Star Trek include:
Star Trek Discovery with Prof Ethan Siegel
Door Twelve of The Cosmic Shed Advent Calendar
The Cosmic Shed Live - The Wrath of Khan
The Cosmic Shed Live - First Contact

HBO’s From The Earth to the Moon

HBO’s From The Earth to the Moon

July 31, 2019

We're going back to the Moon as we talk all things From The Earth to the Moon. We speak to two Apollo Astronauts and two people heavily involved with the wonderful HBO miniseries; Graham Yost and Paul McCrane.

Our Ti with Graham Yost, guest for this episode, also wrote Speed.

Paul (Robocop, 24, Fame) plays Pete Conrad in From the Earth to the Moon and Graham (Speed, Band of Brothers, The Pacific) was the series producer and writer of more than one episode of the wonderful miniseries.


Our Andrew with Fred Haise, Apollo 13 Astronaut who you'll hear in this episode

Andrew, Ti and Steve gather in the shed to discuss the series ans are joined by Tom Adams who also performs a song about Apollo 11 astronaut Mike Collins. We also hear Andrew's interviews with Alan Bean and Fred Haise.

Tom Adams and Ti Singh in The Cosmic Shed

You could also win the Blu Ray box set of the miniseries by following us on Twitter and/or Facebook and entering the competition. Thanks HBO.

show notes

Steve mentions this video from Brady Haran
Andrew mentions this companion episode of The Cosmic Shed 
Ti mentions book Born to be Bad which you can buy here.
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can buy the BluRay of From the Earth to the Moon here

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