Leicester scientist reaches the final of BBC Astronauts competition

Dr Suzie Imber from our Department of Physics and Astronomy will be competing in the sixth and final episode of ‘Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?’ this Sunday on BBC Two at 8pm.

Reaching the final of the televised competition has been a long and gruelling process. Candidates have been tested both mentally and physically- with oxygen deprivation tasks, abseiling down a cliff’s edge and intense probing interviews to name a few of the challenges.

In the upcoming episode, the three finalists will head off to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and carry out a spacewalk dive in an underwater marine lab.

For aspiring astronauts, the winner of the competition will receive the ultimate reference- backing from famous astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield when space agencies take on recruits.

Suzie has been interested in space from a young age, and has spent her academic career looking at our solar system – her current research looks at terrestrial space weather and Mercury’s magnetosphere.

She said: “Taking part was an incredible experience for me, and enabled me to try things I would never have had a chance to do otherwise.

“The other candidates were amazing, and it was a pleasure to get to know them. We’re a tight knit bunch and we have stayed in touch. I’ve never met such an interesting, talented, well-rounded, intelligent group of people in my life!”

The episode will be broadcast on Sunday 1 October at 8pm.

Watch Suzie being interviewed by BBC East Midlands Today upon reaching the final: