In space no-one can hear me scream at my TV, so beam me up, ...


In space no-one can hear me scream at my TV, so beam me up, skattie

While we’re being depressed by the antics of our politicians, scientists are quietly performing miracles every day


The landing of Nasa’s Perseverance rover on Mars was good to watch, by which I mean there was almost nothing to see.

In this drone-swarmed, David Attenborough-narrated era, in which it has become passé to see nature’s rarest and most secret events revealed in ultra-high-definition super-slow-mo, the relative dullness of the space agency’s broadcast ­— robotically cutting between scientists staring anxiously at screens and a computer-generated image of the lander’s progress — was paradoxically dazzling. When you’re doing something that not even the all-seeing eye of modern cameras can show, you’re doing something very special indeed.

For me, it provided marvellous respite from the stuff that’s usually on my screen. In space, no-one can hear you scream, but the benefit of this is that you also can’t hear local politics: when your mind’s eye is 200 million kilometres away, Ace Magashule and Carl Niehaus become infinitesimally tiny and gloriously insignificant...

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