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The Sound Kitchen

Martians, football and the Sun King’s 90th birthday

Audio 10:51
David Franklin/Getty Images/A Terrade

This week on The Sound Kitchen, you’ll hear the answer to the question about the ExoMars lander. There’s a special birthday to celebrate, some news for the RFI Clubs, great music - and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the arrow in the photo, and enjoy!


Hello everyone!

Welcome to The Sound Kitchen. You can catch the programme on-the-air every Saturday at 6:15, 7:15, 14:45 and 16:45 universal time. You’ll hear the winner’s names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you have grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and tune in every Saturday.

For our DX enthusiast friends: Our shortwave frequency is 13725 kHz on the 22m band, from 06.00 to 07.00 UT every day. We’ve had reception reports from Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Cuba, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Russia, Sierra Leone, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US, and although the frequency is “aimed” (or however that works) towards the African continent, give it a try. You never know … and be sure and send us your reception reports. Maybe we can get more time, which would be wonderful.

You can also hear our programs on WRMI ( and WRN ( In Paris, you can hear us on World Radio Paris ( on DAB+. These broadcasters diffuse our programs out of the goodness of their hearts (and thank you thank you thank you WRMI, WRN, and World Radio Paris!), but unless you tell us how you heard us, we have no way of knowing … so do write and tell us how you listen to us.

Great news for the RFI Clubs: Chrystelle Nammour and Sébastien Bonijol in our Listener Relations department are organizing another round of football tournaments for all the official RFI Clubs. The first RFI Club Tournaments were in 2014 to celebrate the FIFA World Cup Football Championship and were so successful they’ve decided to do it again – this time, to coincide with the European Championship games this summer. 

The RFI Club Tournaments need to be played during the Euro 2016 games, from 10 June through 10 July. You can organize your matches any way you want – you can hold games between RFI Clubs in the same country, or games between members of the same club. Your RFI Club may choose to organize games for teams in your community, or games between your RFI Club and other organizations. In any case, RFI will furnish the team shirts, the footballs, and the trophies, and we’ll send RFI banners for you to use at the matches. I’ll announce match results – and you send us photos and videos for our Facebook pages. So don’t hesitate! Write Chrystelle, Sebastian and The Sound Kitchen today and let us know you want to be a part of the RFI Clubs / European Championship 2016 football tournaments.

This week’s quiz: On 19 March, I asked you a question about Mars. On 14 March the ExoMars 2016 mission, a joint mission between the European and Russian space agencies, blasted off from Kazakhstan.

The spacecraft consists of an orbiter that will measure methane and other gases in the Martian atmosphere, and a lander that will study dust storms. The spacecraft is expected to arrive in October.

My question to you was: what is the name of the lander on the ExoMars, and why does it have that name?

The answer is: the Schiaparelli. It’s named after the 19th-century Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835 – 1910). Schiaparelli is best known for his telescopic observations of Mars in 1877, a period when Mars was close to earth in its rotation cycle. Drawing on that month of close observation, he designed the most detailed map of Mars ever published, which became the standard reference in planetary cartography. The names he gave to major features on the planet survive to this day.

What is also interesting in this story is that Schiaparelli is inadvertently responsible for all of our Martian myths! Schiaparelli's description of a dense network of linear structures on the surface of Mars he called "canali" in Italian, which means "channels". However, it was mistranslated into English as "canals". Starting to see what happened? “Channels” are natural configurations. “Canals” are man-made … and there you have it. It didn’t take long for many to proclaim there was life on Mars, because the life form that lived there – the Martians – had to have built those canals that Schiaparelli saw. So Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli is not only the “Father” of Mars observation, you could even say he is the “Father” of a whole genre of science fiction!

Back to the ExoMars, though … three days before the ExoMars arrives at Mars, the Schiaparelli lander will separate from the orbiter and settle on the surface of the planet, where it will measure Mars’ atmosphere. All of this is expected to happen this coming October – Mars is not very close to we Earthlings!

The winners are: Raihan Ali, a member of the Nilshagor RFI Fan Club in Nilphamari, Bangladesh; Husneyara Khatun from the Karatoa Club in Sirajganj, Bangladesh; Ujwal Babu from Kathmandu, Nepal; RFI Listeners Club member P Sivashanmugham from Chennai, India and a member of the RFI Club Cuba: Manuel Alejandro Perez Paneque from Havana.

Congratulations winners!

This week’s question ... you'll have to listen to the show to participate. You have until 13 June to enter this week's quiz. The winners will be announced on the 18 June program. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

Send your answers to:


Susan Owensby
RFI – The Sound Kitchen
80, rue Camille Desmoulins
92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux


By text … You can also send your quiz answers to The Sound Kitchen mobile phone. Dial your country’s international access code, or “ + ”, then 33 6 31 12 96 82. Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your text – and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win an RFI wireless computer mouse, click here:

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club, click here:



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