My dad, Norm Ingold, is a rocket scientist. He has nearly 50 years' practical experience. He even worked on Apollo 13 for NASA -- increasing the accuracy of the guidance systems of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) from 200 miles to 3 miles -- helping save the astronaut's lives.
It's hard to have a sense of perspective on our own lives, the tiniest things seem incredibly important and the important things are hard to remember. How is it possible to hang on to the big stuff and not sweat the small?
There is a near-endless variety of ways that unpicking the chemical evolution of one planet might better inform geoengineering actions on our own. For example, understanding the long-term fate of Martian carbonates and how they interact with the atmosphere and hydrosphere, will teach us how effective this form of carbon storage might be on Earth.
Life may exist on Mars. This is not crazy ranting from a tin foil hat redneck who has crop circle tattoos on their back, enjoys alcohol induced communions with a wounded mother Earth and is married to their sister called Kynleigh. I'm a planetary scientist specialising in Mars chemistry. Let me explain why sending human missions to Mars would be disastrous.
It doesn't take days, week, years to get 'value for money' because really, such a thing never exists. When the money is gone, it's gone. So why torture yourself that you should be using something that you spent money on if you don't like using it.
Thanks for all your comments and questions on social media, your interest is just fantastic. I've answered some of the most commonly asked questions, and listed them here. I'll try to answer more, but before posting new questions, please check through these to make sure I've not already covered that topic... This is a very common misconception that there is no gravity in space. Gravity is everywhere in space! It's what keeps the Moon in orbit around Earth, it keeps Earth in orbit about the Sun and holds galaxies together.
Becoming an astronaut was my dream. I worked hard to get where I am today; but I am acutely aware that I was given many opportunities in life to succeed. I had loving parents who gave me values and direction, a good education and inspirational role models to provide guidance and encouragement. For many young people in the UK, this is unfortunately not the case today. Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, addictions, abuse and mental health problems are issues which are real and prevent our children from fulfilling their potential. We simply cannot choose to ignore these issues, nor let them rob our children of their future.
Einstein and his famous theory of gravity - general relativity - are once again in the news. The LIGO-Virgo collaboration announced yesterday 11th February that they had directly detected gravitational waves for the first time. This brought worldwide excitement to the field of science.
You might be surprised to learn that the age of space tourism has actually been underway for many decades and taking affordable trips to the stars, or at least low-earth orbit, might be closer than you'd think...
Designers from Craig Green to Fendi are busy sending sleepwear-inspired collections for next winter down the runways of London and Milan - 'to sleep perchance to dream' - and while they do so there are a bunch of people getting ready to actually live their dreams - and they're going to be looking pretty nifty as they do it.
With all the listicles of "World's Coolest Office Spaces", it's easy to forget that many of us work in places that I would describe as precisely that. Perhaps not quite as hostile as space (although take the last biscuit and office politics can get brutal). The office can be grey, solitary and most certainly deprived of any sign of flora, unless the salad languishing in the company fridge counts.
He's a British Astronaut making history. If he can't occupy the Twitterati on more than one occasion, no one can. What makes Peake special however, is not his ability to take centre stage on social media. It's his ability to shape an entity much more precious and long lasting - the future generation.
Tomorrow Tim Kopra and I are going on our EVA (extra-vehicular activity). We have been preparing for this specific spacewalk for weeks in space, and months before that on Earth. However, to undertake an EVA actually takes several years of training. We have spent many hours working in our spacesuits, 'floating' in the largest swimming pool on Earth with a Space Station mockup. We have used virtual reality headsets to re-enact our operations and trained for the worst case scenario of becoming detached from the Space Station but I guess nothing can fully prepare for the feeling of being outside of a spacecraft in the vacuum of space.
When you get excited about Tim Peake over the next six months, remember who came before him and what she represents. Helen Sharman was the first Briton in space, and one of the youngest out of the 545 people who have got up there. She underwent 18 months of gruelling training for just sevendays in space and conducted a number of important experiments in that time.
With the ISS to take advantage of, Father Christmas has at his disposal a bespoke and truly unique mode of transportation for getting around the planet, custom built to house its crew in relative safety and security.
Every December, earth scientists from all over the world gather in San Francisco for the AGU meeting (American Geophysical Union). But do not be confused by the name of the meeting, this is very much a global event.