Series Q, Episode 7 - Quests: Part II
- The show has a sci-fi theme, with the panel dressed in Star Trek-like outfits, with Alan being a red shirt - typically the characters in that series which ended up being killed. Also, like in Star Trek the guests are introduced to the set via teleporting. Susan's buzzer is the theme to Doctor Who, for Joe The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, for Holly Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Alan the song Star Trekkin' by The Firm.
- We should not get going to the next star yet. If you are going into interstellar space, it is not strictly speaking true that the earlier you start the earlier you will get there. This is because developments in technology might mean after you set off, a more advanced and faster space ship might be developed which will overtake the first crew. The furthest space craft from Earth is Voyager 1, launched in 1977. However, 40 years later Prof. Stephen Hawking proposed an interstellar craft that would theoretically use energy from the sun to reach much faster speeds and result in it overtaking Voyager in a few months. The best time to set off is using the "wait calculation", a complicated mathematical sum. QI thus advise to not set off on an interstellar mission if it will take 50 years or more to reach your destination. Currently, space probes can travel at around 50,000mph, so it is worth visiting a place that is less than 20 billion miles away, but the nearest star to us is 25 trillion miles away. (Forfeit: Yes)
- When Apollo 11 first landed, NASA was worried it might sink, because they thought that the moon might be made out of quicksand. They were worried that the lunar module might be swallowed whole, so they fitted the module with flat, broad feet. In the 1960s, one in every 35 films featured quicksand. The term comes from Middle English meaning "living sand". Quicksand however will not kill you. What it does is trap you in areas where the tide is currently low, and you find yourself unable to escape, and thus you drown when the tide comes in. To demonstrate how quicksand works, a short film by the British Geological Survey is shown, featuring plastic toys representing Sandi and Alan. It is true that the more you struggle, that harder it is to get out of quicksand, but due to the difference in density you will float, and most quicksand is only a few feet deep. (Forfeit: Cheese)
- When house-hunting on the moon you should watch out for moonquakes. While the moon does not have tectonic plates, quakes are caused by the strain of changes in temperature, meteorites hitting it, or by Earth's tidal forces. Moonquakes are both violent and lengthy. The initial quake is ten minutes long and then tails off, lasting for hours, and the quakes happen every month or so.
- In space, you can hear someone scream. Sound is caused by the vibration of molecules, so it would be impossible to hear anything if you are not wearing a spacesuit. However, astronauts can talk by touch helmets. Sound vibrations travel through the air inside the spacesuits and inside the glass, enough for them to be able to communicate with raised voices. NASA teaches this to astronauts as a back-up system in case radio communication fails. Susan and Holly test this out by wearing large space helmets, but they claim it doesn't work, although Holly says she can't understand Susan at the best of times. (Forfeit: Scream)
- The panel are shown a picture of a robot and are asked what you would do if you spotted him on the side of the road. It is the HitchBOT, a robot hitchhiker, so you should pick it up. A pair of them were created in 2014 by David Harris Smith of McMaster University and Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University. The aim was to see how far human kindness would take a mechanical hitchhiker. The robots travelled through Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, relying entirely on friendly humans taking them from town to town. At one stage, in less than a month one HitchBOT hitched a total of 19 rides, travelling over 10,000km. However, in 2015 the robots were then sent to the USA, and when they reached Philadelphia after 17 days into the start of their journey, a HitchBOT was found beaten up and dismembered in a ditch. The robots are fitted with a voice-box to explain where it would like to go to, explain it could not move of its own accord, had solar panels to help charge it, and had cameras to take photos. The robots could be tracked through 3G and GPS.
- The panel are shown a photo of people at a Laser Quest and are asked what they are firing with. The answer is infrared beams, as lasers are too dangerous to use. These infrared beams normally have a coloured light sent out at the same time to make it look more like a laser. A laser is a way of focusing light in a single direction, so even a weak laser pointer can cause retinal damage. You cannot see laser beams side on at all because the light is so concentrated. You can only see it if some of the light is travelling towards you eye, which can happen if the light travels through dust or fog.
- The panel are shown a close up image of what looks like the moon and are asked what it is. When you pull out, the picture is actually an artist's impression of a moon-moon - a moon that is orbiting another moon. In 2018, astronomers Juna Kollmeier and Sean Raymond published a paper based on a question by one of Kollmeier's children: can a moon have a moon? A moon-moon is mathematically possible. It would have to be no more than six miles in diameter, because if it was any bigger it would be pulled towards the planet due to gravity and it would be ripped apart. Scientists have calculated that Titan and Callisto are possible candidates to have moon-moons. It is also possible to have moon-moon-moons. (Forfeit: The moon)
- There is nothing that dangerous about flying through an asteroid field, as the asteroids are much further apart than they are depicted in sci-fi films. The average distance between asteroids is about 600,000 miles, and most are about the size of a tennis ball. So far, 12 space craft have through our solar system's asteroid belt, and none of them has ever come close to colliding with an asteroid. The chances of being hit by an asteroid in the asteroid belt are about one in a billion. (Forfeit: Getting hit by an asteroid)
- The miniskirt gets its name from the Mini Cooper. Mary Quant, the woman who popularised it, said that the skirt shared many of the qualities of the car: optimistic, exuberant, young and flirty. Quant never made any mention of the fact it was small. (Forfeit: Because it's small)
This episode was broadcast in the same week as the death of Stephen Moore, the man who voiced Marvin and whose voice appears in this episode. The QI Twitter feed posted this message paying tribute to Moore.
- Friday 18th October 2019
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Sandi Toksvig||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|Stephen Moore||Marvin the Paranoid Android (Voice)|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Anna Ptaszynski||Script Editor|
|Sandi Toksvig||Script Editor|
|Alex Bell||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Justin Pollard||Associate Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Nick Collier||Lighting Designer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Researcher|
|Sarah Clay||Commissioning Editor|