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Edinburgh: Space Data Capital

18 Aug 2020 • 4 minute read

Listen to the all episodes of the Space Data Capital podcast series

From satellite data to space robots and even landing on comets, Dr Murray Collins, space lead at the Bayes Centre, and journalist Kim McAllister interview experts from across Scotland and reveal why Edinburgh is on course to become the space data capital of Europe.

Listen to the Space Data Capital series

Why does Edinburgh have the ambition of becoming space data capital of Europe?

Dr Murray Collins and Kim McAllister present the first episode in this eight-part series examining the space ecosystem in Edinburgh and its relationship with the rest of the world.

Featuring Kristina Tamane and Callum Norrie.

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.

Listen to the podcast on Anchor (30 March 2020) opens in a new window  


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.

Listen to the podcast on Anchor (6 April 2020) opens in a new window  

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 Dr Murray Collins and Kim McAllister discuss the implications for sustainability... while recording under blankets.

Listen to the podcast on Anchor (13 April 2020) opens in a new window  

Measuring coastal erosion from space and trying out space data analysis at home, Encarni Medina Lopez joins 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.

Listen to the podcast on Anchor (20 April 2020) opens in a new window  

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, Edinburgh and journalist Kim McAllister discuss what excites them about space... listen out for Murray's impression of Patrick Moore, from The Sky at Night.

Listen to the podcast on Anchor (27 April 2020) opens in a new window  

Time to move away slightly from the science and into the commercial applications. Two space companies working in Edinburgh - Orbital Micro Systems and EarthWave - share their insights:

  • 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 Dr Murray Collins also shares his experience of starting a company in Edinburgh.

Listen to the podcast on Anchor (4 May 2020) opens in a new window  

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

Listen to the podcast on Anchor (11 May 2020) opens in a new window  

Three interviews with three 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
  • David Alexander OBE joins us from Houston, Texas where the Glaswegian Professor of Astrophysics is the director of the Rice Space Institute

Listen to the podcast on Anchor (18 May 2020) opens in a new window  

This podcast series was recorded with thanks to the University of Edinburgh opens in a new window  - first published on Anchor opens in a new window  

If you enjoyed this series, you might like our follow up series - Scotland's Secret Space Race 

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