Publication: The Sun
Interview with Myleene Klass
One of my most pleasant tasks was an exclusive interview with the charming musical star and TV presenter Myleene Klass, a keen ambassador for UK space exploration.
Myleene Klass has discovered a new ambition - to be an astronaut. The pop beauty turned classical star is desperate to become a heavenly body herself by flying into space.
She says: "I'd bite your arm off for a chance to go into orbit, even if it was a one-way ticket - and I'm sure a lot of people would like to send me on that!
"I'd go like a shot - whether it was as a tourist with Virgin Galactic or as a working astronaut on the space station.
"It is wonderful what Sir Richard Branson is doing to launch space tourism. OK it might cost £100,000 a ticket now but the price is bound to come down - before long it will be cheaper to take a trip into space than to fly to Jamaica for Christmas."
Myleene, 27, former Hear'Say star and now a presenter of ITV1's Saturday show CD:UK, was jealous when *Nsync's Lance Bass trained to be a cosmonaut in 2002 - although he never got to fly. "They ran out of funding but I was green with envy. That really sparked something in me," she said.
Myleene is a keen supporter of space exploration - and today she is as likely to be seen out with top scientists as with pop stars. Last week the clasically-trained pianist joined scientists and politicians for an official Whitehall reception to promote the UK's role in space.
And she is looking forward to Europe's next mission - Venus Express - which is packed with British experiments and due to set off for Earth's twin planet next week.
"I'm very, very proud to be an ambassador for space. I know some people say space exporation is a waste of money and there has always been a black hole in funding for it in the UK. But why do you do anything? Because you can!
"From the dawn of time Man has been exploring. What's the point of living otherwise?"
In 2003, Myleene gave up her Christmas Day and took along her sleeping bag to join mutton-chopped Professor Colin Pillinger and his team in London waiting for the landing on Mars of British probe Beagle 2. The £45million probe crashed onto the Red Planet - but Myleene insists the mission was NOT a failure.
"I don't think it failed at all. Beagle was phenomenal. It fired people's imaginations. It is sad that we never received a signal back. But if you tick off what went right, that was the only thing missing.
"Its mother ship Mars Express is now in orbit taking pictures and that's fantastic. And I love the way the mission drew in involvement from the pop and art world with Blur and Damian Hurst.
"Millions of people logged onto the Beagle website to find out about Beagle which was great. They were thinking, 'ooh, I might hear the signal or maybe see an alien.' It ignited a spark of creativity again. Children were drawing Martians while scientists and philosophers were drawing conclusions. They were all drawing something!"
Myleene has been interested in the stars since she was child living in the Norfolk countryside and recalls looking at Halley's Comet when she was just eight.
"I remember Dad showing me the constellations including the W-shape of Cassiopeia. He showed me where to find the North Star and to note where the sun was setting and rising. He was a ship's captain and wanted to make sure we never got lost. I can always find my way home by the stars."
Myleene, who is happy with long-time boyfriend Graham Quinn, recalls trying to get her old Hear'Say bandmates into astronomy - but it was sometimes a losing battle.
"We were in Norway and got the chance to go and see the aurora borealis - the northern lights dancing in the sky - and it wasn't going to happen because the others all wanted to go and see Santa! So I went on my own.
"But astronomy is what keeps me sane. There is nothing I love more than to walk outside and look at the stars."
Article 2: Sky-leene at Night
Former CD:UK host Myleene Klass has set her sights on becoming the new Patrick Moore. The star of ITV1's axed pop show says she is keen to present a TV programme like The Sky At Night so she can turn kids onto space.
She said: "I'd love, love, love to do a show like that for a younger audience.
"Kids are fascinated by the universe - they ask questions like how big is it, and where does it begin and end? The concepts just blow the mind.
"Patrick Moore is a legend but I think it is time for someone younger to carry the baton."
Myleene, who revealed last month that she is to marry long-time boyfriend Graham Quinn, added: "I love the lighter side of astronomy - heavenly bodies, fly me to the moon. It doesn't always have to be heavy. Things like Doctor Who and the Daleks grab the kids.
"If I did a space show I wouldn't want you to feel you had to run and grab a pen and pad to look up all the references later on."
Myleene, 27, who left Hear'Say to play as a classical pianist, already talks to children about astronomy when she gives music masterclasses. She says: "I love it. And it doesn't matter what age you teach, the first question you always get asked is, 'have you met Britney?' The utimate star!"
Myleene has begun a three-year course at the Open University to improve her knowledge of the science - and says she would like to help make their TV programmes too.
Myleene says she got hooked on astronomy when her dad taught her the constellations as a child at their Norfolk country home. She said: "He taught me to find the North Star - so now I'll never get lost!"
Sir Patrick, 82, is a bit of a musician like Myleene - but on the xylophone. And one of his closest friends today is Queen guitarist Brian May.