Telum Vox Pop: World Space Week
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Telum Vox Pop: World Space Week

This week marks World Space Week, an international celebration of science and technology. To mark the event, Telum asked science journalists to share with us their favourite and most memorable space stories.

Genelle Weule, EP at ABC Science Digital 
There are so many space stories that have been highlights - it’s so hard to choose. But I think the most memorable was the unveiling of images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Not only because the images were visually breathtaking, but because the scientific detail was extraordinary. We unpacked these images with some of the world’s finest cosmologists and astrophysicists.
 
Six months earlier, I’d interviewed Nobel Laureate John Mather, one of the driving forces behind the telescope, in the lead-up to its launch. Chatting to him about the science behind the JWST and his hopes for its future is one of the most memorable and enjoyable interviews I’ve ever done.
 
“I’m hoping that it will tell us about the beginning of everything,” he said. At the time, the telescope was sitting on top of a rocket, waiting to be propelled into space in one of the most complicated launches ever planned.

"Of course, there's always this little nagging doubt in the back of my mind that says, "Well, we've worked for all this time and we're putting our billions of dollars and our life work on top of all the explosive material you can possibly find and trusting that process."

"But it is what we do.”

Seeing his vision of how the JWST could open up our view of the universe starting to unfold was amazing.

Suzannah Lyons, Senior Commissioning Editor for 360info
I think there's a misconception that scientists are dry, emotionless people. That's not true. Of the many passionate scientists I've interviewed, I've often thought of astronomers as the poets of the bunch. Every day they're grappling with big, awe-inspiring topics, like how the universe began, and their eloquence reflects that.
 
Interviewing NASA's Dr Carol Raymond about her research on the dwarf planet Ceres was particularly memorable because in the middle of an answer, she blurted out: "When I talk about it, I just want to be there so badly." To me, that perfectly demonstrates the place emotion has in science reporting. She's devoted her life to this work, of course she cares about it.
 
As a Senior Commissioning Editor for 360info, I still get to work with amazing scientists. A recent highlight was publishing an article about what NASA's OSIRIS-REx could tell us about the origins of life on Earth, written by cosmochemist Dr Janaína Nunes Ávila. If I'd heard about cosmochemistry during my science degree, I might've paid more attention during lectures!

Chris Cubbage, Director & Executive Editor, MySecurity Media - Australia in Space Magazine
A highlight was our most recent expert panel event, Space Medicine for Earthlings, held at the Australian National University in Canberra.
 
The impact of space on the human body and some of the research that has been done on humans in space is still relatively limited. When humans go to Mars and colonise the Moon, we are going to be exposed to a microgravity environment and partial gravity on the surface. We don't know much about partial gravity. But we also don't know the cumulative effect of that long-term microgravity exposure, which has so many medical and physiological effects on the cardiovascular system, even with fluid shifts on the eye. There are also changes to the immune system where immunity is decreased and the effect on balance and posture.
 
Telehealth and virtual health are two of the most important areas of research that are underway, to the extent of creating a digital twin of the human body and mirroring data from real patient data. This will be one way to measure the risk of going into space, and will be used to screen people before they go.

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Genelle Weule

Executive Producer (Digital)

Chris Cubbage

Director / Executive Editor

Suzannah Lyons

Senior Commissioning Editor

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