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Preview: Planetary Radio - The Planetary Society

Planetary Radio: Space Exploration, Astronomy and Science

Space exploration, astronomy and planetary science. (Weekly)


Alan Stern and a Triumph at Pluto

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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 00:00:00 -0500

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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The Pale Red Dot: A Planet Called Proxima b

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The announcement was made just days ago. Co-discoverer Michael Endl tells us about the discovery of a roughly Earth-mass planet orbiting in the habitable zone of the closest star to our own.

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Could the Soviet Union Have Won the Space Race?

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Space historian and policy expert John Logsdon joins Mat Kaplan for a fascinating conversation about how the US could have lost the race to the moon.

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Sailing the Canyons of Titan

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Steep canyons on Saturn's moon Titan are filled with liquid methane. That's the discovery just announced by an international team of Cassini scientists, including Alex Hayes.

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Subcontractors: Making Space Happen

Tue, 09 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500

You may never hear their names, but there are thousands of small to medium-sized companies without which space exploration and development wouldn’t happen.

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Space Policy Edition #3: Plutonium-238, Europa via SLS, Cost of the Next Mars Rover Rises

Fri, 05 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500

In our third episode, we debate the risks and rewards of tying the future of a Europa mission to the fate of NASA's massive Space Launch System rocket. Also, NASA just announced that the next Mars rover will cost $2.4 billion—$900 million more than initially thought. But the mission is not considered over budget. Why not? Lastly, the U.S. just generated 50 grams of Plutonium-238, the largest amount in nearly thirty years. We celebrate the successful effort to create this critically important, though highly toxic, power source for deep space spacecraft.

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Interstellar Dreams Turn Real

Tue, 02 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Philip Lubin and his former student Travis Brashears have had quite a year. Their bold plan to send tiny probes to nearby stars is now supported by NASA and the Breakthrough Starshot $100 million dollar initiative. Hear their amazing story.

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Anatomy of a Rover—Getting Down to Mars

Tue, 26 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500

It takes a lot of terrific components to create a successful spacecraft like Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory. We’ll visit JPL to learn about the Terminal Descent Sensor radar that will once again help land a rover on the Red Planet.

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The Eagle Has Landed: Remembering Neil Armstrong

Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500

We celebrate the 47th anniversary of the first moon landing with the reprise of a conversation with author and NBC space reporter Jay Barbree about his trusted friend Neil Armstrong.

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Juno Reaches Jupiter!

Tue, 12 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Return with us to the evening of July 4, 2016 and the exciting arrival at Jupiter of the Juno orbiter. You’ll hear the moment of successful orbital insertion. Several of the mission’s key contributors reveal how Juno accomplished this feat, along with what they hope the spacecraft will tell us about the giant planet.

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Fighting for Space: Former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver

Tue, 05 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500

She has spent most of her life working toward a bright future for humanity in space, and Lori Garver has lost none of her passion. She visited the Planetary Society for a wide-ranging conversation with Mat Kaplan.

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Space Policy Edition #2: Why Juno? Why Jupiter? Why Now?

Fri, 01 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500

This month Jason Callahan, Casey Dreier and Mat Kaplan ask whether the Moon vs. Mars human destination debate makes sense, highlight a new report on the science potential of CubeSats by the National Academies, and explain how a thrilling planetary science mission like Juno gets a thumbs up from NASA.

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Countdown to Jupiter

Tue, 28 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Juno will enter Jupiter orbit on July 4th. Mat Kaplan talks with the mission’s Principal Investigator, Scott Bolton at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Bill Nye helps prepare us for this exciting encounter and the science that will follow.

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Planetary Radio Extra: Shining a Million Watt Flashlight on an Asteroid

Tue, 28 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500

PlanRad’s celebration of Asteroid Day (June 30th) continues as we call UCLA grad student Adam Greenberg at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

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OSIRIS REx: Ready for a Voyage to Bennu

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500

OSIRIS-REx will launch toward Near Earth Asteroid Bennu soon. In an early celebration of Asteroid Day, mission leader Dante Lauretta tells us how learning about asteroids may teach us about our own origins, and help us avoid a cataclysmic impact.

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JunoCam, The People’s Jupiter Camera

Tue, 14 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The Juno spacecraft will enter orbit at Jupiter on July 4th. It carries a camera that will send back spectacular images from just above the swirling clouds of that mighty planet. Planetary scientist Candy Hansen will tell us how we can help decide what it will view.

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Chris McKay, Larry Niven and Andy Weir at the Contact Conference

Tue, 07 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Space art and science fiction joined science fact at the 2016 Contact Conference in Sunnyvale, California. We talk with three well-known visionaries.

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Space Policy Edition #1: How We Got Here: Human Spaceflight at the End of the Obama Era

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500

In the premiere of this new monthly series we briefly examine the latest move by the House of Representatives in the game of NASA's budget and then discuss what Lockheed Martin's new "Mars Base Camp" proposal takes from The Society's Humans Orbiting Mars workshop. Our featured discussion takes a deep dive into the story of President Obama's impact on human spaceflight--how NASA ended up with a mixed program of commercial systems and big government programs.

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Getting Humans to Mars

Tue, 31 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Three NASA leaders talk with host Mat Kaplan about the progress we're making toward leaving footprints on the Red Planet.

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A Big Test for LightSail 2

Tue, 24 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The Planetary Society’s solar sail spacecraft was in the middle of a critical test as we spoke with the Society’s Bruce Betts and Jason Davis.

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NASA’s Science Leader John Grunsfeld

Tue, 17 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500

John Grunsfeld closes our coverage of the Space Foundation’s 32nd annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. We also meet the leaders of the New Generation Space Leaders Program.

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Dream Chaser: The Return of the Spaceplane

Tue, 10 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500

We’re back at Space Symposium for a conversation with SNC’s Mark Sirangelo, leader of that company’s effort to build the Dream Chaser. We’ll also hear a few moments of Bill Nye’s session at the annual gathering as he hosted Bernard Foing and Amy Mainzer.

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At Space Symposium With the Leader of the European Space Agency

Tue, 03 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The annual Space Symposium in Colorado is a must-attend event for space leaders from around the world. Our coverage begins with United Arab Emirates Space Agency Director General Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, and then moves to ESA Director General Jan Woerner and Chief Scientist Bernard Foing.

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A Death Valley Conversation About Life, The Universe and Everything With Tyler Nordgren and Jill Tarter

Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Beautiful Death Valley National Park was the setting for a fascinating conversation with famed SETI researcher Jill Tarter and celebrated astronomer, artist and photographer Tyler Nordgren.

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Exploring Europa and Mining Asteroids at Yuri’s Night

Tue, 19 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Our special coverage from the Los Angeles Yuri’s Night party continues with Chris Lewicki of Planetary Resources along with Bob Pappalardo and Boback “Mohawk Guy” Ferdowsi who are preparing an orbiter for Jupiter’s ocean world Europa.

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Celebrating Yuri’s Night 2016 with Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

Tue, 12 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Happy Yuri’s Night! We’re partying under Space Shuttle Endeavour in the first of two shows featuring interviews from the worldwide celebration of space. Star Trek’s Robert Picardo will talk about his new video newsletter, the Planetary Post, and we’ll visit with Samantha Cristoforetti, who returned last June from 200 days aboard the International Space Station.

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Michel Mayor, Discoverer of the First Extrasolar World

Tue, 05 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Michel Mayor and his team rocked the astronomy world with their 1995 announcement, but this modest man says it was a discovery whose time had come.

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Ashwin Vasavada, Leader of Scientists Roving Mars

Tue, 29 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The new Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist is not new to the mission. Ashwin Vasavada has worked on the Curiosity rover since 2004.

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Planetary Radio Live: All These Worlds…

Tue, 22 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Our live conversation about “Planet 9” and the amazing diversity of our solar system, featuring Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of Caltech, Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker.

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Neil Gehrels and WFIRST—A Space Telescope for the 2020s

Tue, 15 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500

NASA has given the go-ahead for creation of the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope. It might help reveal the nature of dark energy and point the way to life among the stars.

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HERA Heroine Julielynn Wong and Printing Medical Tools in Deep Space

Tue, 08 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Julielynn Wong came directly from her 30-day long HERA IX deep space simulation to our microphone. We talk with her about the experience, and her progress toward 3D medical device printing solutions for astronauts and Earthbound humans.

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Interstellar Dreams: Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Aurora”

Tue, 01 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Famed science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson is back with Aurora, a cautionary tale about just how difficult interstellar travel may be.

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Exploring Saturn With Cassini

Tue, 23 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Cassini Mission Project Scientist Linda Spilker returns with the latest discoveries at the beautiful ringed planet, its moons and its rings.

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Planetary Radio Extra: Our Space Policy Experts Analyze NASA's Proposed 2017 Budget

Tue, 23 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Casey Dreier, the Planetary Society's Director of Space Policy, and Jason Callahan, the Society's Space Policy Advisor, talk with Mat Kaplan about the just-released "President's Budget Request" for the fiscal year starting in October of 2016.

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Zero-G With OK Go!

Tue, 16 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600

OK Go has gone where no band has gone before to make a music video. Mat talks with Damian Kulash and Tim Nordwind about the hazards, thrill and promise of making art in free fall.

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Planetary Radio Extra: LightSail Update

Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The Planetary Society's Bruce Betts and Jason Davis join host Mat Kaplan for a status report on LightSail 2, the Society's next solar sail, now being prepared for launch as soon as late this year.

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Planet 9 From Outer Space!

Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin fully expect a new and undemotable ninth planet will be found in the outer reaches of the solar system. The Caltech researchers talk about their findings and much more.

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NASA’s New Planetary Defense Office

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Lindley Johnson has just been named NASA's first Planetary Defense Officer. He's joined on this week's PlanRad by astronomer Kelly Fast, the new manager of the Near Earth Object Observation Program.

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Civilizations Among the Clustered Stars?

Tue, 26 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

New research indicates that globular clusters—collections of up to a million stars—could provide stable environments for life, along with opportunities for interstellar civilizations. Lead author Rosanne Di Stefano joins us to explain.

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Marc Rayman’s Dawn Mission Update

Tue, 19 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The Dawn Mission Chief Engineer Marc Rayman returns for another report on the ion-engine powered mission, now orbiting 240 miles above dwarf planet Ceres in the Asteroid Belt.

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Master of the Moon Rocks: NASA Astromaterials Curator Francis McCubbin

Tue, 12 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Francis McCubbin is the new Astromaterials Curator at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the priceless collection includes the Apollo moonrocks. Join host Mat Kaplan's visit.

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Ad Astra Builds “The Martian’s” Rocket Engine

Tue, 05 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Mat Kaplan visits the Ad Astra Rocket Company in Texas where they are perfecting the VASIMIR electric rocket engine. Emily Lakdawalla has created a comprehensive timeline tracing missions throughout the solar system. Bill Nye salutes Planetary Society colleagues who gathered to record a Planetary Radio Extra year in review conversation. The new year’s sky is chock full of planets according to Bruce Betts.

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Planetary Radio Extra: Ad Astra Rocket Company Audio Tour

Tue, 05 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Ad Astra's Mark Carter took Planetary Radio Host Mat Kaplan on a great tour of the company's facility in mid-November of 2015. Space and science geeks are going to love this mostly unedited audio recording.

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Planetary Radio Extra: Planetary Society Experts 2015 Review

Tue, 05 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Bruce Betts, Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla gather with Mat Kaplan for a fascinating and informative Planetary Radio Extra year-in-review roundtable discussion.

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2015: A Great Year for Space Exploration

Tue, 29 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600

Our year-end review features the “best of 2015” lists from Jason Davis, Casey Dreier, Emily Lakdawalla and Bill Nye the Science Guy. What’s Up offers planets, a comet, and a nice prize package for the space trivia contest.

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Planetary Radio Extra: Casey Dreier on the 2016 NASA Budget

Tue, 22 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600

Mat Kaplan sits down with our Director of Advocacy, Casey Dreier, for a discussion of NASA's 2016 budget.

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Congressman John Culberson on a Good Day for Space

Tue, 22 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600

The newly-approved federal budget includes great news for fans of space exploration and development. Texas Congressman John Culberson led the fight for a Europa mission, the SLS rocket, commercial crew and more. He tells us why on this week’s show.

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Field Test: Planetary Deep Drill

Tue, 15 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600

Drilling through many meters of ice to Europa’s ocean or to the pristine sub-surface layers of Mars will be hard. The Planetary Deep Drill prototype has shown that it may be a practical approach. Join Mat Kaplan and Planetary Society colleagues at the field test site deep in California’s desert.

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A Journey to Space

Tue, 08 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600

Journey to Space is both a new and spectacular IMAX movie and an exciting, hands-on exhibition at the California Science Center. We learn about both this week.

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A Tiny Explorer Called Twinkle

Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600

A small but talented UK team is building Twinkle, a small spacecraft with a big mission—exploring the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars.

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Movers and Shakers at SpaceCom Expo

Tue, 24 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0600

We join 1,600 space entrepreneurs and visionaries in Houston, and talk with Boeing, XCOR, Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa and more.

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Solar System Revelations, and the World’s Biggest Telescope Threatened?

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0600

Emily Lakdawalla returns from the annual Division for Planetary Sciences meeting with big news from around the solar system. Then we talk with science journalist Traci Watson about the departure of the great Arecibo radio telescope’s Director and the funding challenge that could shut down the observatory.

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From Mars to the Stars With Lou Friedman

Tue, 10 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0600

The founding Executive Director of the Planetary Society has just written “Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars,” an optimistic view of humanity’s future in the solar system and beyond.

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A 35th Anniversary Party With Neil Tyson!

Tue, 03 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0600

It was a grand night at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. CEO Bill Nye led the Planetary Society’s 35th anniversary party with guests including Neil deGrasse Tyson and Deputy NASA Administrator Dava Newman. We present a very brief sampling of the celebration.

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A Conversation with Andy Weir of “The Martian”

Tue, 27 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0500

“The Martian” has won universal acclaim from scientists, astronauts, NASA, science fiction fans, and people who thought they weren’t science fiction fans. Mat Kaplan talks with the author about his harrowing, uplifting, amazingly detailed and realistic tale.

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Pluto Amazes!

Tue, 20 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Hal Weaver is a very happy Project Scientist. His New Horizons spacecraft has shocked his fellow researchers with magnificent images and data. He shares the excitement this week.

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Big Rockets and Little LightSails

Tue, 13 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Digital editor Jason Davis is a lucky guy. He follows and reports on human spaceflight progress, as well as the progress of the LightSail solar sail, which is about a year from its next flight.

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Imaging Hot Young Jupiters

Tue, 06 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Franck Marchis is on the team that has delivered an actual image of a young, hot world about 100 light years from Earth. We talk with him on the 20th anniversary of the first exoplanet discovery.

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Humans Orbiting Mars!

Tue, 29 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Scott Hubbard and John Logsdon led the Humans Orbiting Mars Workshop last spring. They return with Casey Dreier as the report on that workshop is released to the world.

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Zibi Turtle and a Mission to the Ice Giants

Tue, 22 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500

They are the most neglected planets in our solar system, but that status may be changing. Planetary scientist Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle celebrates NASA’s announcement that it will study a mission to Uranus or Neptune.

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OSIRIS-REx Readies for Asteroid Bennu

Tue, 15 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Dante Lauretta heads the most ambitious mission to an asteroid ever mounted. With one year left till launch, he returns to Planetary Radio with an update.

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Flying High on SOFIA

Tue, 08 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Planetary Radio returns to SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, but this time we fly in the giant 747 turned telescope platform. It was a night to remember.

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Zooming In On Mars With Mastcam-Z

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Planetary Radio talks with Jim Bell and Justin Maki, leaders of the development team for the most advanced camera ever planned for the surface of Mars.

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The Right Site: Choosing A Landing Spot on Mars

Tue, 25 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0500

The 2020 Mars Rover may be years away, but determining where it will land is already a hot topic among scientists and engineers. Many of the former gathered in early August for a site selection workshop. We talk with Co-Chair and Mars veteran Matt Golombek, JPL astrobiologist Lindsay Hays, and Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems.

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Living Under the Sea With NASA Aquanaut David Coan

Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Mat Kaplan talked with engineer and NEEMO Expedition 20 team member David Coan while he was hard at work with astronauts and other engineers living in the Aquarius undersea habitat.

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Planetary Radio Extra: Checking in on NASA's Budget with the Planetary Society's Director of Advocacy Casey Dreier

Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Mat Kaplan sits down with our Director of Advocacy, Casey Dreier, for a deep dive into current space policy.

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A New Era For SETI Research: More on the Breakthrough Initiatives

Tue, 11 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0500

We follow last week’s conversation with Ann Druyan about the $100 million funding of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by visiting with two of the scientists who will do the work: Dan Werthimer of UC Berkeley and Karen O’Neil of the Green Bank Telescope.

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Ann Druyan and the Breakthrough SETI Initiatives

Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0500

The Breakthrough Initiatives will pump $100 million into the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence in the next 10 years, vastly expanding humanity’s quest to learn if it has company in the universe. Among the leaders of this brave new project is Cosmos creator Ann Druyan. Join us for a special, extended conversation with Ann.

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The Royal Observatory, Greenwich and the Quest for Longitude

Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Come with us on a visit to the home of the prime meridian for a conversation with the curator of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich about the race to create a practical means for determining longitude.

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Planetary Radio Live at the New Horizons Pluto Encounter

Tue, 21 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Join our live audience for highlights of an amazing evening, featuring Jim Bell, Bruce Betts, Mike Brown, Emily Lakdawalla, Linda Spilker, and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

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A Small, Distant World: Kepler 138b

Tue, 14 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0500

SETI Institute scientist Jason Rowe returns to tell us about the smallest exoplanet so far that has had its size and mass determined. Jason also talks with Mat about our ever-expanding knowledge of these worlds that circle faraway stars.

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Emily Lakdawalla’s Pluto Preview

Tue, 07 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Two visits with the Planetary Society Senior Editor this week, as Emily first provides an update on the Rosetta comet mission and then returns with an extended look ahead at the New Horizons Pluto encounter next week.

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Saving the Planet: Voices From the Planetary Defense Conference

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0500

We’ve already brought you Planetary Radio Live from the 2015 PDC near Rome, Italy. Now you’ll hear a small sampling of the scientists, engineers, policymakers and media experts who spent five days considering how humanity will respond to a potentially disastrous threat. Bruce Betts celebrates the great Jupiter-Venus conjunction in What’s Up. Bill Nye and Emily Lakdawalla return next week.

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Exploring the Seas of Earth and Other Worlds

Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0500

We return to the beautiful Aquarium of the Pacific in southern California for a fascinating conversation about ocean science. What we learn down here is furthering our research around the solar system. William Patzert, Jerry Schubel and Steven Vance join Mat Kaplan on stage. Emily Lakdawalla tells us what Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, has been doing lately. Bruce Betts is keeping his eye on converging Jupiter and Venus.

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LightSail Triumphant! A Mission Press Conference

Tue, 16 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0500

After a roller coaster ride that included a maddening eight-day silence, the LightSail test mission finally achieved all of its major goals. Leaders of the mission team gathered on June 10th to take questions from the media, and share their thoughts and emotions with the general public. Today’s show presents highlights of that briefing. Emily Lakdawalla is seeing things on Pluto, and she’s not alone. Bruce Betts takes Mat Kaplan on a walk in space during this week’s What’s Up segment.

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Cassini Update AND LightSail Spreads its Wings!

Tue, 09 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker, returns with another update on the magnificent mission at Saturn. You’ll also hear Bill Nye and the moment when LightSail began to deploy its solar sail.

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Chris Carberry and Getting Humans to Mars

Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Explore Mars revealed the 2015 Humans to Mars Report at a recent conference in Washington. CEO Chris Carberry gives us a quick tour of this inspiring assessment of what it will take to get more than robots to the Red Planet.

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The Launch of LightSail

Tue, 26 May 2015 00:00:00 -0500

This special edition takes you behind the scenes on May 20, 2015 as LightSail is lifted into orbit. You’ll hear the thrilling launch, meet key team members as they prepare for the big moment, and hear a special status report from Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye.

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Spiraling Closer to Ceres With the Dawn Mission’s Marc Rayman

Tue, 19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0500

It’s the biggest dwarf planet between here and Pluto, and it has a new permanent resident. The Dawn spacecraft is orbiting Ceres in the asteroid belt, revealing it as never before. What are those bright spots anyway? We spend time with Dawn’s Chief Engineer and Director, Marc Rayman.

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Alan Stern and the Rise of Pluto

Tue, 12 May 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Humankind’s arrival at Pluto is barely two months away. The science and images have already started to flow from New Horizons, according to the mission’s Principal Investigator, Alan Stern. Alan returns to Planetary Radio this week.

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Sean Solomon on the Climactic End of the MESSENGER Mission to Mercury

Tue, 05 May 2015 00:00:00 -0500

We open with the countdown to destruction—the MESSENGER spacecraft’s impact on Mercury ended its spectacularly successful mission. Principal Investigator Sean Solomon joins us immediately after this big finish.

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Countdown to LightSail: An Update

Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0500

The road to space has been a rocky one for most spacecraft, and LightSail is no different. Challenges remain even with the May 20th launch of a test mission approaching. Embedded LightSail reporter Jason Davis checks in with the latest news.

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Saving the Planet at the Planetary Defense Conference

Tue, 21 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Planetary Radio Live was the only public event at the just-completed Planetary Defense Conference in Italy. Join us for excerpts from an all-star celebration of worldwide efforts to find, track, characterize and eventually deflect killer Near-Earth Objects.

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Rob Manning and Landing on Mars

Tue, 14 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Landing on Mars is hard, and the bigger you are, the harder it gets. Rob Manning returns to tell us about one of NASA’s best hopes for getting much bigger spacecraft down there—spacecraft that may one day carry humans.

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Humans Orbiting Mars: Report on the Workshop

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0500

A human mission to orbit Mars might be possible by 2033, and it might be accomplished at reasonable cost and with existing or nearly-ready technology. Three leaders of a recent Washington DC conference on this topic provide a report.

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Robert Bigelow and His Expandable Space Habs

Tue, 31 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Bigelow Aerospace’s BEAM expandable/inflatable space module will be attached to the International Space Station later this year. Mat travels to the company’s headquarters for a conversation with founder and CEO Robert Bigelow.

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Big News From Little Worlds

Tue, 24 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla has returned from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas with the latest revelations about our solar system. She shares them in an extended report.

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Leaving Behind a Life on Mars—Former Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger

Tue, 17 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0500

The Mars Science Laboratory rover has accomplished its primary goals on the Red Planet, and John Grotzinger has left his central role to become Chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. He shares his thoughts about the ongoing mission and much more.

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Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides on LauncherOne and the Return of SpaceShipTwo

Tue, 10 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0500

6,000 job-seekers came to the new Long Beach, California home of Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne rocket on a recent morning. We sit down with CEO George Whitesides for a conversation about this new effort and the return of SpaceShipTwo.

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Jim Bell Welcomes “The Interstellar Age”

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0600

Planetary scientist and author Jim Bell has just written “The Interstellar Age—Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission.” He talks with Mat Kaplan about the magnificent grand tour of the outer solar system that is now headed toward the stars.

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Jonathan Goff Says Let’s Redirect an Asteroid

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:00:00 -0600

ARM is the Asteroid Redirect Mission, and sometimes it seems that it doesn’t have a friend in the world. But it does, and Jonathan Goff of Altius Space Machines is one.

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