ED2016 Columns ED2016 Comedy

Samantha Baines: Eight Mind-blowing Space facts you never knew

By | Published on Thursday 14 July 2016


Award-winning comedian (and ‘Call The Midwife’ alumnus) Samantha Baines brings her debut solo hour to Edinburgh this year, and promises to share her passion for science, rip the lid off sexism in space, and impress Brian Cox. Get yourself a little insight into the sort of facts you can expect her to dole out.

Tim Peake has just come back, Buzz Lightyear wishes he was up there and I’ve written a whole show about it: Space, the final frontier. Here are eight brain splattering facts about space and the universe that will definitely be useful in pub quizzes.

1. The first animal in space was a bitch
Yes, a female dog and not a monkey like we normally enjoy testing things on! A dog went to space before we did because – yep – dogs take the lead! Her name was Laika, she’s everyone’s favourite – I mean you have to like her, Laika.

2. The Milky Way is owed 115 million letters from the Queen
Yep, I am good at maths (quickly closes calculator app) and our galaxy is oooooolllllld! 11.5 billion years old. That is some mouldy chocolate. You should get a letter from the Queen when you reach the ripe old age of one hundred, so the Milky Way is owed quite a few letters. Get writing Lizzy.

3. Peake-a-boo hoo
Tim Peake was not the first British astronaut in Space! Helen Sharman went up in 1991. Yep, behind every great man, there is a woman who got there first without all the press coverage. I doubt #Britinspace was trending back in 1991. OK, mainly because twitter didn’t exist.

4. One NASA space suit costs twelve million dollars
But really you are just paying for the label, aren’t you?

5. Our galaxy x 350 billion = the known universe
Your brain might go a bit marshmallowy when you think about this one. Take our galaxy – made up of all the planets we know and love and stars – and times it by 350 billion and that’s how many galaxies there are in the known universe. I’d eat them all. Seriously though, there are 350 billion possible Earth like planets, 350 billion possibilities for other life forms and 350 billion parallel worlds in which I might not be dairy intolerant. #winning

6. Our moon is falling
CATCH! No, it’s not a Pokemon, so you won’t have to catch it all. However, the moon is falling just in our orbit so it is falling in a kind of circle around us. It doesn’t slow down, because space is like a vacuum and there is no friction to stop it: friction slows things down – like a ball on carpet, a car breaking or a family meal.

7. The Big Bang is actually The Mediocre Bang
Not as catchy though is it?! The Big Bang wasn’t big, it was around 120 decibels which is as loud as a rock concert or my Gran’s TV. It was named ‘The Big Bang’ by a British guy called Fred who called it that sarcastically. Yes, British sarcasm!

8. Women need space
This year for the very first time, half of NASA’s astronaut trainees are women – no, that’s not a joke. This announcement came exactly forty years after NASA hired its first female astronaut – it’s about ruddy time!

Phew, you can pick your brains up off the floor now, and get on with your day. I told you didn’t I? So useful for quizzes. Want more facts? Well you’d better come to my show then.

Samantha Baines performed ‘1 Woman, A Dwarf Planet And 2 Cox’ at Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Festival 2016.

LINKS: www.samanthabaines.com

Photo: Michael Wharley