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Preview: Planetary Radio - The Planetary Society

Planetary Radio: Space Exploration, Astronomy and Science

Each week, Planetary Radio visits with a scientist, engineer, project manager, advocate or writer who can provide a unique perspective on the quest for knowledge about astronomy, our solar system and beyond. We also showcase regular features that raise yo

Copyright: 2018 The Planetary Society 939227

Amateur Astronomers Work To Save Earth From Asteroids!

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 15:00:00 -0000

Seven astronomers have been selected to receive Shoemaker NEO (Near Earth Object) grants from the Planetary Society.  They and their observatories span the planet.  We’ll meet an American and an Australian.  Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts provides an overview of the grant program and later returns for this week’s edition of What’s Up. The Planetary Society’s Kate Howells reports on the outlook for space funding in Canada’s newly-released federal budget.  She and Society CEO Bill Nye also met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  Learn more about this week’s topics and see images here:

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Visiting the Birthplace of PlanetVac

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 16:00:00 -0000

Space is hard.  Sample collection and return is harder still.  That’s why the radically-simplified PlanetVac system from Honeybee Robotics is so intriguing.  Join Planetary Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts and host Mat Kaplan on a tour of Honeybee that includes a PlanetVac demo. Bruce returns for this week’s What’s Up jaunt around the night sky.  Planetary Society Digital Editor Jason Davis share big news about the LightSail 2 solar sail and the next SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch. Learn more about this week’s topics and see images here:

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Space Policy Edition #23 - Blitzing Congress: Planetary Society volunteers visit Capitol Hill

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 18:00:00 -0000

Society members from 21 states descended on the U.S. capitol for a "blitz" of 178 meetings in two days. Casey and special guest Matt Renninger explain why that is such an important activity, and blitzers Leah and Stefanie Griffith share their story of coming to Washington to speak for space.  More resources to explore this month’s topics are at

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Experience A Message From Earth - Inspired by the Voyager Golden Record

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 06:00:00 -0000

It has been 40 years since Carl Sagan and others shared the best of humanity with the stars. A new online multimedia project has been created as a 21st century homage to the Golden Record.

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The Eyes of a New Mars Rover: Mastcam-Z

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:00:00 -0000

Mat Kaplan attended a meeting of the science team for the zoom lens camera that will be atop the Mars 2020 rover mast. Planetary Scientist Jim Bell tells us how this new system will show us the Red Planet as we’ve never seen it before.

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Space Policy Edition Special: The 2019 President’s Budget Request Unveiled

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:00:00 -0000

As promised, Casey Dreier and Jason Callahan are back with a special review of the just-released FY 2019 President’s Budget Request (PBR) for NASA. It contains good news, bad news and odd news. What is likely to stand? What will Congress ignore, going its own way? NASA’s new lunar ambitions, Mars Sample Return, WFIRST and more hang in the balance. Let the debate begin.

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A New Congressional Caucus Backs Planetary Science

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:00:00 -0000

Republican Randy Hultgren and Democrat Derek Kilmer celebrate formation of the new bipartisan, bicameral caucus of US representatives and senators. They have united behind exploration of our and other solar systems. Bill Nye shares his eye and ear witness account of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch and landing. The new What’s Up space trivia contest takes its inspiration from the Tesla Roadster now on its way to Mars.

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Space, SETI, the Singularity and Shostak

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 06:00:00 -0000

Where is everybody? That was the question physicist Enrico Fermi asked when he wondered why we hadn’t yet met ET. What will happen if we do? Will humans lose the will to explore?

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Space Policy Edition #21: Bill Nye and the State of the Union

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 06:00:00 -0000

Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye attended the State of the Union address on January 30th, he also spent the day meeting with sixteen different members of Congress to promote science on Capitol Hill. In this special abbreviated show, Casey Dreier and Mat Kaplan welcome their colleague Matt Renninger, who joined Bill on Capitol Hill, to discuss the goals of The Planetary Society and the reasons why it was important for Bill to attend.

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Going to Sea to Sail Through Space: Orion Ocean Recovery Testing

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0000

Join Mat Kaplan on a visit to Naval Base San Diego and the USS Anchorage, the amphibious ship that has just completed a round of Orion spacecraft recovery testing and practice.

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Living in Space!

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0000

Mat Kaplan talks with participants in the National Space Society’s recent Space Settlement Summit about human destiny in space.

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It’s a Hard Rain on Titan

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0000

A computer model based on our best data about Saturn’s cloud-shrouded moon says that torrential liquid methane pounds the surface far more frequently than previously expected. Sean Faulk and Jonathan Mitchell of UCLA explain.

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Mysterious Tabby’s Star, With Tabby Herself

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0000

It may not host an alien “megastructure” but Tabby’s Star still guards many mysteries of science. Astronomer and astrophysicist Tabetha “Tabby” Boyajian leads the worldwide team that is revealing this strange light in the sky.

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Space Policy Edition #20: Looking back on the year in space policy. Also, your questions!

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0000

It’s the space policy guys’ turn to look back at a year that saw great achievements in space. Were they matched by events in Washington DC?

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Looking Back, Looking Forward with the Planetary Society All-Stars

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0000

Mat’s first-ever four-way conversation with Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla reviews the biggest 2017 events in space exploration and provides their predictions of what to look for in the new year.

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Flowing Water on Mars? Not So Much

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Mars scientists dubbed them recurring slope lineae or RSLs. They sure looked like evidence of liquid water flowing down hillsides and ridges on the Red Planet. New research led by USGS Planetary Geologist Colin Dundas says otherwise.

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Exploring the Latest Planetary Science Discoveries With Emily Lakdawalla

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 06:00:00 -0000

A holiday edition of Planetary Radio welcomes the Planetary Society’s Senior Editor back from the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Emily reports on amazing developments in planetary science she discovered at the huge conference.

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President Trump Sets Course for the Moon

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:00 -0000

On December 11th President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that firmly points the US space effort toward the Moon, but without providing many details. Planetary Society Director of Space Policy Casey Dreier fills in some of the gaps left by this executive directive.

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A Visitor From the Stars: ‘Oumuamua

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 06:00:00 -0000

The first confirmed interstellar visitor to our solar system is a needle-shaped asteroid given the Hawaiian name ‘Oumuamua. Karen Meech leads the team that is learning as much about it as possible before it leaves our neighborhood, never to return.

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Space Policy Edition #19: When did the private space age begin? Much earlier than you think.

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Elon Musk. Jeff Bezos. Richard Branson. These are the names we tend to associate with the current era of private space exploration. But what about John Quincy Adams, James Lick, or Charles Yerkes? Space economist and historian Dr. Alex MacDonald joins us to discuss his book, "The Long Space Age," which chronicles the history of private investment in U.S. space exploration all the way back to the 18th century. Jason and Casey also discuss the consequences of the House GOP tax plan, which could raise taxes on thousands of graduate students. Also, the coming budget showdown and possible consequences for NASA projects.

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Bob Richards of Moon Express

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Moon Express Founder and CEO Bob Richards shares an inspiring vision for a return to the Moon. It includes introduction of a sophisticated line of robotic spacecraft, the first of which may make a soft landing next year.

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Canada Rises…And So Does the Sun

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Canada has a new Space Advisory Board, and The Planetary Society’s Kate Howells is a member.

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The Honorable Adam Schiff: Another Congressional Space Enthusiast

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Congressman Adam Schiff’s California district includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is as enthusiastic a fan of the final frontier as you are likely to find under the capitol dome in Washington D.C.

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Andy Weir’s New Novel Puts a City on the Moon

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0000

The author of #1 bestseller "The Martian" is back with "Artemis," a superbly-researched, rollicking adventure in the first city on the Moon.

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Space Policy Edition #18: Jim Bridenstine vs. the Senate and First Meeting of the National Space Council

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The likely next Administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, appeared before a somewhat skeptical Senate committee to defend his nomination. Casey and Jason recap the hearing and assess Congressman Bridenstine’s chance of moving forward.

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André Bormanis and Emily Lakdawalla on Life, the Universe and Everything

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Join us for a wide-ranging, salon-style conversation about space exploration, science, art and more. Mat’s guests are astronomer, television producer/writer and former Star Trek science advisor André Bormanis and Planetary Society Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla.

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Searching for ET With Pete Worden

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Are we alone? The nearly sixty-year effort to answer that question has gotten a big boost from the Breakthrough Initiatives, funded by Yuri Milner and led by former NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden, who is our guest this week.

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Pamela Gay and the Image Detective

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Astronomer Pamela Gay tells us how anyone can work with images of Earth taken by astronauts, turning them into terrific scientific resources.

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Dawn: Ten Years of Exploration

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Dawn Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman helps us salute the ion-engine powered spacecraft that first orbited asteroid Vesta in the main asteroid belt and then moved to dwarf planet Ceres, revealing two fascinating worlds.

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Space Policy Edition #17: The 75th Anniversary of the Rocket Age, with Dr. Michael Neufeld

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Fifteen years before Sputnik, on a bright 1942 afternoon in northern Germany, a thundering machine of metal and fire pierced the sky, ultimately touching the edge of space for the first time in history. It opened a new era of opportunity and terror with rocket technology. Dr. Michael Neufeld joins us discuss the significance of this test and how it happened.

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Australia Gets Serious About Space

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The Australian government announced that it would create a national space agency at the 68th annual International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide. We’ll talk with IAC 2017 CEO Brett Biddington about what this means for his country.

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Celebrating Cassini…Live!

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 05:00:00 -0000

More than 1,100 fans of the just-completed 20-year mission to Saturn joined us for a live tribute.

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Long Live Cassini!

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Join us at JPL and Caltech on the bittersweet morning the Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn.

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Science Fiction Greats on Humanity’s Destiny in Space

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society talks with Gregory Benford, David Brin, Geoffrey Landis and Larry Niven about terraforming Mars, the origin of life, the drive to explore and more.

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Sailing on the Light of the Sun With Lou Friedman

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The co-founder and Executive Director Emeritus of The Planetary Society returns for a conversation about the allure of sailing through space.

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Space Policy Edition #16: NASA's Flagship Missions: Are They Worth It?

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The multi-billion dollar, multi-decade Cassini mission is about to end. A new report tries to answer an important question: are flagship science missions like Cassini worth the effort and expense? And how can NASA maximize the value of these endeavours? Dr. Ralph McNutt, co-chair of the National Academies study, reviews the report’s recommendations.

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Planetary Radio Live on the Eve of the Eclipse

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0000

With hours to go before the Great American Eclipse, nine outstanding guests joined host Mat Kaplan for Planetary Radio Live in front of 1,100 rowdy eclipse and space science fans.

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Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker’s Last Appearance Before the Grand Finale

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0000

It’s the Grandest Finale. The spectacular Cassini mission’s exploration of Saturn will end on September 15th when the spacecraft plunges into the planet. Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker is back with one last mission update.

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Ed Stone and Forty Years of Voyager in Space

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0000

It is most space fans’ favorite planetary science mission, and with good reason. We visit with the man who has been in charge of Voyager mission science for more than four decades.

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Dark Energy Attracts? Astrophysicists Jason Rhodes and Alina Kiessling

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0000

JPL astrophysicists Alina Kiessling and Jason Rhodes were brought together by their fascination over the mystery of dark energy. They talk with Planetary Radio about their research and the many missions they are contributing to, including WFIRST, a unique new space telescope.

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Space Policy Edition #15 – Congressman Rick Larsen, Could Russia Exit the ISS?

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0000

New U.S. sanctions against Russia have reignited speculation that global politics could undermine cooperation in the International Space Station. Could Russia cut off rides for US astronauts to the ISS? Later, Casey Dreier joins Spark Science host Dr. Regina Barber Degraaff for a conversation with U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen, Democratic representative of Washington state’s 2nd District. We also check in on NASA's 2018 budget, which is currently moving through the Senate. Did they provide funding for a new Mars orbiter?

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An Eye on the Sun (In the Middle of a Lake)

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The world’s most powerful solar telescope has just been renamed for the man responsible for its creation. We’ll meet astrophysicist and helioseismologist Phil Goode, and we’ll enjoy a tour of the Goode Solar Telescope.

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Planetary Radio Live! Living on Mars

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Will humans live, work and thrive on Mars? What challenges must be met before we can become Martians? On July 20th, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Mat Kaplan welcomed an outstanding panel of experts for conversation in front of a Pasadena, California audience.

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Emily Lakdawalla on the Last Orbits of Cassini

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The Cassini Mission has less than two months to go before it ends with a spectacular plunge into the beautiful ringed world. Planetary Society Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla has prepared a guide to the last orbits by the historic spacecraft.

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20 Years on Mars with Matt Golombek

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0000

When the Pathfinder lander reached Mars 20 years ago it began a Martian renaissance that has never paused. JPL scientist Matt Golombek was the mission’s Project Scientist. He looks back and to the future of our explorations at the Red Planet.

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Space Policy Edition #14 – Ice Giants and Ocean Worlds Beckon

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0000

A new report builds the case for long overdue returns to Uranus and Neptune, while another proposal calls for exploration of the many bodies in our solar system that hide vast water oceans. Jason Callahan, Casey Dreier and Mat Kaplan dive into the troubled waters that determine which planetary science missions will get the limited funds available.

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A Cosmic Voyage with Astronomer Sandra Faber

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Veteran astronomer and cosmologist Sandra Faber has just been awarded the Gruber Prize for Cosmology, honoring more than forty years of pioneering work. She talks with Mat Kaplan on this week’s show.

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Happy Asteroid Day!

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Asteroid Day, June 30th, marks the anniversary of the great Tunguska impact that leveled a Siberian forest. It reminds us that a Near Earth Object can destroy a city or even a civilization. Former Minor Planet Center Director Tim Spahr reviews our efforts to find and understand these bodies.

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Thomas Edison, Eclipse Chaser!

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Former NPR science reporter David Baron discusses the stories of men and women who made their way across the American West to view and document the total solar eclipse of 1878.

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Julie Webster and the Art of Spacecraft Endurance

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 05:00:00 -0000

How do you keep a dazzlingly complex spacecraft in good health after 20 years in space? That’s the challenge for Julie Webster and her team of engineers supporting the Cassini mission at Saturn.

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Spectacular Jupiter!

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Have you seen its stunning image of Jupiter’s south pole? The Juno orbiter is surpassing expectations and delivering surprising science. Scott Bolton, the mission’s Principal Investigator, is back with a thrilling report.

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Space Policy Edition #13 – The 2018 Budget Proposal and Is Mars Exploration in Retrograde?

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The Trump Administration released its proposed FY2018 budget just days ago. Casey Dreier, Jason Callahan and Mat Kaplan dive deep into what this controversial plan means for NASA and how it has been received by Congress.

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Buzz Aldrin and Other Martians

Wed, 31 May 2017 05:00:00 -0000

He walked with Neil Armstrong on the moon, but that may not be his greatest legacy. Buzz Aldrin was joined by other space stars at the recent Humans To Mars Summit.

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Human Spaceflight: Coming Back to America

Wed, 24 May 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Astronauts may soon ride on US rockets and in US spaceships for the first time since the last Space Shuttle flight. Jon Cowart of NASA is working with SpaceX toward the first launch of a Dragon spacecraft with humans on board.

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NASA Leaders on Getting Humans to Mars

Wed, 17 May 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The human journey to the Red Planet is long and hard, but Mat’s conversation with three NASA Associate Administrators at the Humans to Mars Summit was filled with cautious optimism.

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Visiting Worlds Fantastic with Bonnie Buratti

Wed, 10 May 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Veteran Jet Propulsion Lab planetary scientist Bonnie Buratti talks with Mat about the wonder of our solar neighborhood that she explores in "Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar—A Guided Tour of the Solar System."

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Space Policy Edition #12 – Is Space Policy Stagnant? With Special Guest Marcia Smith

Fri, 05 May 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Moon or Mars? Should NASA depend on private companies? What’s the goal of human spaceflight? These questions were debated three decades ago, yet are just as relevant today. Does that mean space policy is stagnant?

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Be There! The Great American Eclipse

Wed, 03 May 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Our ongoing coverage of preparation for the Great American Eclipse takes us to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where a huge celebration is planned.

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Bill Nye Saves the World…With Space

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0000

It was a big week for the Science Guy, and for science. Bill Nye served as honorary co-chair of the March for Science in Washington DC. His new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World, premiered the next day. Two of the show’s thirteen episodes are devoted to space science and exploration. Bill talks about all this in a special conversation with Mat Kaplan.

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McDonald Observatory and the Quest for Dark Energy

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The University of Texas at Austin’s observatory is high in the hills of west Texas. In this special episode, Mat Kaplan joins the tens of thousands who visit it each year. The occasion was the dedication of the vastly upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope, third largest on Earth.

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Aerospace Corporation President and CEO Steve Isakowitz

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The Aerospace Corporation has been innovating since 1960. Now it’s headed by a former leader of “New Space” company Virgin Galactic. President and CEO Steve Isakowitz talks about the evolving culture of the space industry.

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Space Policy Edition #11 – Big Science and a Skinny Budget

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Whether it’s discovering gravity waves, curing cancer or building a space station, the biggest science challenges increasingly require investments that are beyond what private industry can afford and collaborations that include many nations. Casey, Jason and Mat look at the history of big science and the outlook for future efforts. The team also reviews the 2018 budget proposed for NASA by the Trump Administration, and shares other space policy news from Washington.

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Mars’ Atmosphere…Lost in Space!

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0000

Mars was once a warm and wet world. Then its dense, protective atmosphere mostly vanished. Learning why was one of the greatest mysteries in planetary science. The answer has just been delivered by the MAVEN orbiter.

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Nancy Atkinson’s Incredible Stories from Space

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The longtime editor of outstanding online space news source Universe Today has just written about nine robotic missions of exploration in "Incredible Stories From Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos."

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Ready for Space: LightSail 2 Update

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:00:00 -0000

The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 solar sail spacecraft is ready to be packed away for its ride to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Mat Kaplan checks the mission’s status with team members.

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The Great American Eclipse—Be Part of It!

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 05:00:00 -0000

It’s coming! Will you be in the path of totality? Astronomers Without Borders President Mike Simmons says be there if you can.

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Hope for Pluto—Should We Re-Redefine Planets?

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Planetary geologist Kirby Runyon is lead author of an abstract that proposes a new, geophysical definition of what a planet is.

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Space Policy Edition #10 - Special Guest Laura Delgado Lopez, SpaceX to the Moon, looming budget cuts

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Laura Delgado Lopez from the Harris Corporation joins us to talk about the growing number of countries getting into the space business, particularly in Latin America. Casey, Jason, and Mat also take stock of SpaceX's plans to send humans around the Moon in 2018, and how the newly-announced Trump budget cuts could hurt NASA.

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The Worlds of TRAPPIST-1

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:00:00 -0000

The discovery of seven, Earth-sized planets in a nearby solar system was announced last week. Astrophysicist and planetary scientist Sara Seager joins us to share her excitement about this find that includes three planets in the habitable zone.

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Planetary Radio Live: Near Earth Objects—The Killer Asteroid Threat

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Leaders of the quest to find, understand and protect ourselves from the asteroids and comets called Near Earth Objects gathered with host Mat Kaplan for a live conversation about this existential threat from space.

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Nazis in Space? Rod Pyle’s Amazing Stories of the Space Age

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Rod Pyle reveals bizarre yet fascinating space projects of the past in his new book. Pyle also exposes previously classified information about missions and spacecraft you thought you knew.

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Earth Microbes! Welcome to Mars

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 06:00:00 -0000

University of Arkansas grad student Rebecca Mickol and her team have demonstrated that some Earth bacteria can survive in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars. Could Martian bacteria thrive under the same conditions?

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Space Policy Edition #9 – Congress Plots New Space Legislation Amid Trump’s Tumultuous First Two Weeks

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 06:00:00 -0000

It’s still too early to say where the Trump Administration will take NASA, but there are a few hints. Congress is not waiting. Casey, Jason and Mat review a draft of the space agency’s authorization bill and a separate act that asks NASA to lay out its plans for humans to reach Mars.

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The Final Countdown at Saturn

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Planetary Radio’s most frequent guest, Project Scientist Linda Spilker, returns with another update on the Cassini mission that is approaching its grand finale.

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Ice, Snow and Lava: Exploring Antarctica’s Mount Erebus

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0000

Earth’s southernmost active volcano may also be its most remote. Rosaly Lopes and Michael Carroll recently spent a few frigid days on the slopes of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus. What they learned may help us understand volcanos on other worlds.

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Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan Leaves NASA

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0000

For well over three years, planetary scientist Ellen Stofan has worked directly with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to help coordinate and expand the myriad science efforts by the agency. We talk with her as she ends this remarkable tenure.

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Ben Miller Says The Aliens are Coming!

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0000

We are joined by British physicist turned comedian and actor Ben Miller, author of The Aliens are Coming! The Extraordinary Science Behind our Search for Life in the Universe.

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Space Policy Edition #8 - A Transition "Trumpdate", 2016 in Review, and Answering Your Questions

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0000

After an opening update on the presidential transition, Casey, Jason and Mat share their nominees for the biggest space exploration events of 2016. Then they take on fascinating questions submitted by listeners. You’ll also hear the surprising early announcement of NASA’s next Discovery missions.

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A Little Rocket Company Shoots for the Moon

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0000

CEO Randa Milliron introduces us to Interorbital Systems, which wants to put your payload in orbit for as little as $8,000. Can they do it?

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Marvelous Martian MAVEN

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 06:00:00 -0000

MAVEN, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution orbiter, has gone a long way toward solving the mystery of the Red Planet’s missing water and air. The University of Colorado’s Nick Schneider says it is also revealing gorgeous clouds, auroras and glowing skies.

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Art That Captures the Beauty and Science of Space

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 06:00:00 -0000

Marilynn Flynn, Simon Kregar and Rick Sternbach are masters of space art. They talk about how their work furthers science and captures the imagination.

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A Giant Telescope and Remembering John Glenn

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 06:00:00 -0000

Space historian John Logsdon remembers American hero John Glenn. Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye was a big fan of the Friendship 7 astronaut—less so the new Star Wars movie. Then we get an update on the Giant Magellan Telescope from Patrick McCarthy.

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Running Before the Sun: Astronomer Jay Pasachoff

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 06:00:00 -0000

No one is more excited about eclipses than famed solar astronomer and author Jay Pasachoff. He looks forward to the total solar eclipse in August of 2017.

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Space Policy Edition #7 - The Trump Administration: What Can We Expect for Space?

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 06:00:00 -0000

The SPE team reviews the outlook for human spaceflight, planetary science, Earth observation and much more under the upcoming Trump administration.

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Leading the Search: Bill Diamond of the SETI Institute

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 06:00:00 -0000

The SETI Institute is about much more than the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. President and CEO Bill Diamond of the Institute explains.

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To Mars! With National Geographic

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 06:00:00 -0000

The National Geographic Channel’s “Mars” miniseries has begun. Mat Kaplan attended a kickoff for the ambitious docudrama last summer. You’ll hear from series technical advisor Bobby Braun, author of “The Martian” Andy Weir, Cosmos creator Ann Druyan and more.

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Pluto and Titan and Iran, Oh My!

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 06:00:00 -0000

Back to the annual meeting of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences this week, where Mat Kaplan visited with experts on worlds of ice including Titan and Pluto, with a side trip to the dunes of Iran.

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Inside Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 06:00:00 -0000

Host Mat Kaplan traveled to California’s Mojave Desert for a tour of Virgin Galactic’s The Spaceship Company, where the second SpaceShipTwo was built and is undergoing flight tests. TSC Executive VP Enrico Palermo was his guide.

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Space Policy Edition #6: Election 2016! Where Do Clinton and Trump Stand on Space?

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 05:00:00 -0000

Just in time for election day in the USA, we take stock of the major candidates' space policies (as far as they go), comparing statements and policy op-eds put out by both campaigns. We also look at the broader implications and challenges of the coming Presidential transition for NASA.

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Matt Taylor Rocks Rosetta

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 05:00:00 -0000

Mat Kaplan talks with Matt Taylor, the Rosetta Project Scientist, just two weeks after the spacecraft touched down on 67/P.

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Alan Stern and a Triumph at Pluto

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 05:00:00 -0000

Alan Stern of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond was in Pasadena for the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. He joined Mat Kaplan for a very special conversation down the street at Planetary Society HQ.

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Charley Kohlhase and the Greatest Voyage

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 05:00:00 -0000

How did the Voyager spacecraft manage to weave their magnificent way through the outer planets of our solar system? Mission Design Manager Charley Kohlhase led the team that crunched the numbers to select the best possible trajectory from 10,000 candidates.

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Trekkin’ Across the Universe With Andrew Fazekas

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 05:00:00 -0000

The Night Sky Guy, Andrew Fazekas, talks about his beautiful new, Star Trek-inspired guide to the real wonders of astronomy.

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Space Policy Edition #5: The U.S. Senate takes on the politics of Mars

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 05:00:00 -0000

We take a deep dive into new space legislation working its way through the US Senate. It embraces Mars and NASA's big rocket. But Elon Musk and SpaceX just announced an ambitious new plan to colonize Mars. Does this upset the political establishment? Or will they find a cold reception in the halls of Congress? Also, where does science fit into the politics of space?

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Farewell Rosetta!

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 05:00:00 -0000

The European Space Agency’s magnificent Rosetta mission ended last week as the spacecraft gently touched down on the comet it has revealed.

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Rocket Road Trip!

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 05:00:00 -0000

Planetary Society Digital Editor Jason Davis returns with the story of the ten-day trek across the South he just completed with two Society colleagues.

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Cassini at Saturn: The Final Year

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 05:00:00 -0000

The great Cassini spacecraft has a year to go before it plunges into the ringed planet. Project Scientist Linda Spilker returns with more amazing mission science.

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OSIRIS-REx: The Voyage to Bennu Begins, With Dante Lauretta

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 05:00:00 -0000

In two years a Near Earth Asteroid now known as Bennu will have a visitor from Earth. OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta reports on his mission’s successful launch.

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Spinoffs! Sharing NASA Technology

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 05:00:00 -0000

In its nearly five decades, NASA has created or improved thousands of technologies, processes and innovations. Dan Lockney is in charge of making sure these solutions are found and utilized by industries and others in need.

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Space Policy Edition #4: Near Earth Asteroids—Why we go, how we find them, and maybe mine them

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 05:00:00 -0000

In honor of OSIRIS-REx—NASA’s newest asteroid mission—we explore the policy and history of near-Earth Objects: why NASA explores them, how the government plans to find and defending the planet, and the how policy can keep up with ambitious plans to mine asteroids.

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