Astronaut wanted, no experience necessary at Salem Chapel, Leeds

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Astronaut Helen Sharman speaks at the Waterfront Museum, Swansea, South Wales. PIC Matthew Horwood © WALES NEWS SERVICE Astronaut wanted, no experience necessary at Leeds International Festival
Courtesy of Leeds International Festival

Astronaut wanted, no experience necessary at Salem Chapel, Leeds, Leeds 5 May 2018 Tickets from £12.00

For many of us, David Bowie’s epic 1969 masterpiece, Space Oddity, may be the closest we can ever expect (or hope) to come towards experiencing what it’s like to float in a tin can, far above the world. But ‘the final frontier’ is rapidly shrinking as our understanding of the vast universe expands, and commercial space travel looms just around the corner (there are already more than 700 wealthy customers, including Brad Pitt and Katy Perry, already signed up to travel onboard Virgin Galactic – at $250,000 a pop – when it launches).

As part of Leeds International Festival 2018, Helen Sharman CMG OBE will share her experiences of being the first Briton to travel into space, after the food chemist from Sheffield responded to a radio advertisement, which simply stated “astronaut wanted, no experience necessary.” Sharman was selected from more than 13,000 applicants and had to undergo rigorous training in Star City, Russia, before embarking on an eight-day mission to the Russian space station Mir in 1991, aged 27. She still vividly recalls the experience of looking down at Earth from 200 miles up – a sight that continues to penetrate her dreams today.

Less than 500 humans have travelled to space so far, yet all this is about to change. From past to future, Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, co-founder of Mars One, will also discuss his organisation’s plans to lead an interstellar mission to settle the first human colony on Mars in 2032. The one-way journey offers no return, meaning crew members will have to say goodbye to friends, family and planet Earth for good – a hefty price to pay. Yet one that some individuals will inevitably be willing to make in return for untold adventures.

The event will be hosted by Dallas Campbell (BBC presenter and author of “Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet).

Astronaut wanted, no experience necessary at Salem Chapel, Leeds, Leeds 5 May 2018 Tickets from £12.00

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