Edinburgh: Space Data Capital
By Kim McAllister
Edinburgh: Space Data CapitalApr 06, 2020
International space connections
It's the season finale - so we've crammed in 3 interviews with 3 superstars!
Dr Steve Hancock is working on NASA's GEDI mission from Edinburgh with the University of Maryland
Vladimir Ivan is working with the only NASA humanoid robot outside the US, Valkyrie, to simulate life on Mars
and David Alexander OBE joins us from Houston, Texas where the Glaswegian Professor of Astrophysics is the director of the Rice Space Institute
As always, Dr Murray Collins and journalist Kim McAllister present the programme in their irreverent style - this week Kim educates Murray about the importance of Irn Bru and why he should wear a swimming pool noodle on his head.
Drop them a line on Twitter @murraybcollins and @kimmcallister
Check out the websites:
Space business and sustainability
After our appearance on the BBC on Friday (Living in lockdown is like living on Mars - featuring Kim's interview with astrobiologist Charles Cockell) we turn to business and sustainability.
Two guests with amazing stories share details of their pioneering work.
Gary Watmough is using satellite data to measure poverty.
Robin Sampson is fusing satellite data with blockchain to create tradable contracts for commodities traders.
Both are based in Edinburgh - amazing huh?!
Time to move away slightly from the science and into the commercial applications.
We speak to two space companies working in Edinburgh - Orbital Micro Systems and EarthWave.
American company Orbital Microsystems opened its first international office in Edinburgh - Greg Porter explains why they chose the city and what ambitions they have.
EarthWave was co-founded by Swiss scientist Livia Jacob straight after her Masters at Edinburgh University - how did she find moving straight from her studies to running a company?
Presenter Murray Collins also shares his experience of starting a company in Edinburgh.
We're looking out into the universe with two astonishing experts - one lands spaceships on comets and the other grows microbes on meteorites in the International Space Station.
Both are based in Edinburgh.
Colin Snodgrass is leading the next UK deep space mission called Comet Interceptor. This will catch a comet as it enters the solar system to find out what the planets looked like when they were formed.
Professor Charles Cockell - astrobiologist - discusses whether there is life on Mars and how he intends to prove it either way.
Presenters Dr Murray Collins, space lead at the Bayes Centre, and journalist Kim McAllister discuss what excites them about space - listen out for Murray's impression of Patrick Moore, from The Sky at Night...
Marine from Space
Measuring coastal erosion from space and trying out space data analysis at home...
We're thrilled to have Encarni Medina Lopez join us to explain how space data can help us monitor our marine environments.
Professor Iain Woodhouse - who literally wrote the book on remote sensing - explains how easy it is to download satellite images and start analysing them.
Dr Murray Collins challenges co-presenter Kim McAllister (a journalist with no science background) to try some space data analysis at home.
Try it yourself: apps.sentinel-hub.com ( if you've been listening to the podcast you'll know which satellites to select!)
Agriculture from Space
How are we going to feed the world when resources are dwindling and population is exploding?
Prof Mat Williams explains that "X-Ray vision" from drones and satellites allows farmers to understand the health of their crops and even predict yield. He's working with the European Space Agency to launch the 'Biomass' satellite with a brand new sensor - and students can get involved.
Sarah Middlemiss, Space Programme Manager at Ecometrica, talks about getting the science to end users like governments and large agri-businesses. Many of Ecometrica's employees come from Edinburgh University thanks to their world class training.
And we can't ignore the fact we're all living under lockdown - presenters Murray Collins and Kim McAllister discuss the implications for sustainability... while recording under blankets.
Edinburgh: Space Data Capital is a Connect Communications production for the University of Edinburgh in association with Picture Zero Ltd.
Forests from space
Deforestation causes about 20% of carbon emissions - and it's completely unnecessary.
Dr Murray Collins and journalist Kim McAllister talk to leading scientist Dr Ed Mitchard about his work mapping forests across the world using satellite data. Ed's work is helping governments measure their efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and he has just won the contract to help train 50 new PhD students in this area.
Also in this episode, hear from mangrove specialist Ebuka Nwobi who first came to Edinburgh as a student on a government scholarship from Nigeria. He's been practising his ceilidh dancing as well as working on a project to predict coffee yield in Brazil using satellite data.
Space Data Capital
Why does Edinburgh have the ambition of becoming Space Data Capital of Europe?
Dr Murray Collins (@MurrayBCollins) and Kim McAllister (@KimMcallister) present the first episode in an eight-part series examining the space ecosystem in Edinburgh and its relationship with the rest of the world.
Featuring Kristina Tamane (@Kri0sis) and Callum Norrie (@SpaceNetScot).
Kristina discusses the links between business and academia at the University of Edinburgh.
Callum describes designing the first LIDAR satellite to be owned by the European Space Agency.
The Edinburgh: Space Data Capital podcast is produced in association with Picture Zero.
Could information from space help save the planet
What can we contribute from Scotland?
Will Edinburgh become the space data capital of Europe?
Join me, Kim McAllister and Dr Murray Collins – space lead at the Bayes Centre – as we interview some of Scotland’s leading experts in satellite data, space robots and even landing on comets.
We’re launching the first episode in the eight part series on Monday the 30th of March – so subscribe now!