There's a lot of hubbub about space at the moment, what with British astronaut Tim Peake due to head off to the International Space Station on Tuesday. If space gets your rocket orbiting, this year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures will be right up your street.
Space medical expert — and Londoner — Dr Kevin Fong (he's worked at NASA, y'know) leads three lectures on the subject of how to survive in space. He's well qualified on the subject, having been involved in a spacecraft that was once set to become the world’s first space ambulance. He's also got degrees coming out of his ears, and has worked as an NHS and air ambulance doctor.
With the Mars mission planned for 2024, keeping humans alive in space is key in current research — the distance between Earth and Mars means that return missions will take years, with no help at hand in a medical emergency. Fong explores the future of space travel, and offers an insight into the challenges of protecting human life in the hostile environment, discussing how today's feats of space travel are overcoming the obstacles of outer space.
The ballot for access to the lectures has closed, but tickets are available to watch live screenings. Other events taking place include behind-the-scenes tours of the lectures, where members of the public can see rehearsals taking place and find out how the demonstrations come to life, as well as seeing props from lectures of Christmasses past.
The Michael Faraday Christmas Lectures are a Royal Institution tradition, dating back to 1825, aiming to introduce young people to science topics in a fun and interesting way. Past lecturers have included Sir David Attenborough.
Christmas Lectures 2015 take place on 18, 19 and 22 December. Tickets to watch live screenings of the lectures adjacent to the lecture theatre are £12/£8 per lecture and need booking in advance. They'll also be broadcast on 28, 29 and 30 December at 8pm on BBC Four.