The Anthill

Anthill 15: Unexplored places

In this episode of The Anthill podcast, we are off exploring. Our theme is unexplored places and we speak to academics who research remote corners of land, sea and space.

First, we go for a plunge into the ocean. The deep sea is often called the final frontier, a wild region we know less about than the surface of the moon. But is that really true? And what’s it actually like diving among the weird and wonderful creatures that exist thousands of metres below the waves? We speak to Jon Copley, a marine ecologist at the University of Southampton, who has been to some of the deepest trenches in oceans around the world.

Be careful what you run into in the deep ocean. shutterstock.com

From alien-like creatures in the deep seas, we zoom to outer space and the search for life on planets far from our own. We speak to Katja Poppenhaeger, an astrophysicist at Queen’s University Belfast, on her work looking for habitable exoplanets in other solar systems. She explains what a planet needs in order to support life – and how scientists are looking for it.

The Kepler telescope shines a light into space in search of exoplanets. NASA

Then we land back on Earth, but not in landscapes that most of us would be familiar with. Most of the surface of our landmass has been explored by humans, but Yani Najman, a geologist at Lancaster University, tells us what it’s like to look out over terrain that few others have seen. Her work reconstructing ancient environments by looking at modern rocks takes her to the far reaches of the Himalayas and Antarctica.


Click here to listen to more episodes of The Anthill, on themes including Music on the Mind, The Future and Self-experimentation.

The Anthill theme music is by Alex Grey for Melody Loops. The music in the exoplanets segment is Space Travel by Parvus Decree and the music in the land segment is Fragile Ice by Sergey Cheremisinov.

A big thanks to City University London’s Department of Journalism for letting us use their studios to record The Anthill.