Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500The 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.
Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500It’s coming! Will you be in the path of totality? Astronomers Without Borders President Mike Simmons says be there if you can.
Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600Planetary geologist Kirby Runyon is lead author of an abstract that proposes a new, geophysical definition of what a planet is.
Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600Laura 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.
Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600The 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.
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0600Leaders 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.
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0600Rod 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.
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0600University 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?
Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0600It’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.
Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600Planetary Radio’s most frequent guest, Project Scientist Linda Spilker, returns with another update on the Cassini mission that is approaching its grand finale.
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600Earth’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.
Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600For 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.
Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600We 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.
Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600After 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.
Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600CEO 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?
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600MAVEN, 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.
Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600Marilynn Flynn, Simon Kregar and Rick Sternbach are masters of space art. They talk about how their work furthers science and captures the imagination.
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600Space 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.
Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600No 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.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600The SPE team reviews the outlook for human spaceflight, planetary science, Earth observation and much more under the upcoming Trump administration.
Tue, 29 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600The SETI Institute is about much more than the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. President and CEO Bill Diamond of the Institute explains.
Tue, 22 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600The 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.
Tue, 15 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600Back 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.
Tue, 08 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600Host 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.
Fri, 04 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500Just 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.
Tue, 01 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500Mat Kaplan talks with Matt Taylor, the Rosetta Project Scientist, just two weeks after the spacecraft touched down on 67/P.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500Alan 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.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500How 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.
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500The Night Sky Guy, Andrew Fazekas, talks about his beautiful new, Star Trek-inspired guide to the real wonders of astronomy.
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500We 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?
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500The European Space Agency’s magnificent Rosetta mission ended last week as the spacecraft gently touched down on the comet it has revealed.
Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500Planetary Society Digital Editor Jason Davis returns with the story of the ten-day trek across the South he just completed with two Society colleagues.
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500The 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.
Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500In 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.
Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500In 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.
Fri, 02 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500In 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.
Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500The 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.
Tue, 23 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500Space 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.
Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500Steep 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.
Tue, 09 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500You may never hear their names, but there are thousands of small to medium-sized companies without which space exploration and development wouldn’t happen.
Fri, 05 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500In 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.
Tue, 02 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500Philip 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.
Tue, 26 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500It 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.
Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500We 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.
Tue, 12 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500Return 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.
Tue, 05 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500She 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.
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500This 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.
Tue, 28 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500Juno 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.
Tue, 28 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500PlanRad’s celebration of Asteroid Day (June 30th) continues as we call UCLA grad student Adam Greenberg at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500OSIRIS-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.
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500The 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.
Tue, 07 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500Space art and science fiction joined science fact at the 2016 Contact Conference in Sunnyvale, California. We talk with three well-known visionaries.
Fri, 03 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0500In 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.
Tue, 31 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500Three NASA leaders talk with host Mat Kaplan about the progress we're making toward leaving footprints on the Red Planet.
Tue, 24 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500The 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.
Tue, 17 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500John 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.
Tue, 10 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500We’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.
Tue, 03 May 2016 00:00:00 -0500The 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.
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0500Beautiful 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.
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0500Our 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.
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0500Happy 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.
Tue, 05 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0500Michel 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.
Tue, 29 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500The new Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist is not new to the mission. Ashwin Vasavada has worked on the Curiosity rover since 2004.
Tue, 22 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500Our 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.
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500NASA 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.
Tue, 08 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0600Julielynn 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.
Tue, 01 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0600Famed science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson is back with Aurora, a cautionary tale about just how difficult interstellar travel may be.
Tue, 23 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600Casey 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.
Tue, 23 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600Cassini Mission Project Scientist Linda Spilker returns with the latest discoveries at the beautiful ringed planet, its moons and its rings.
Tue, 16 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600OK 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.
Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600Mike 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.
Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600The 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.
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0600Lindley 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.
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600New 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.
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600The 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.
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600Francis 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.
Tue, 05 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600Mat 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.
Tue, 05 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600Ad 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.
Tue, 05 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600Bruce 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.
Tue, 29 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600Our 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.
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600Mat Kaplan sits down with our Director of Advocacy, Casey Dreier, for a discussion of NASA's 2016 budget.
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600The 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.
Tue, 15 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600Drilling 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.
Tue, 08 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600Journey 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.
Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0600A small but talented UK team is building Twinkle, a small spacecraft with a big mission—exploring the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars.
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0600We join 1,600 space entrepreneurs and visionaries in Houston, and talk with Boeing, XCOR, Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa and more.
Tue, 17 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0600Emily 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.
Tue, 10 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0600The 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.
Tue, 03 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0600It 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.
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.
Tue, 20 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0500Hal 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.
Tue, 13 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0500Digital 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.
Tue, 06 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0500Franck 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.
Tue, 29 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500Scott 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.
Tue, 22 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500They 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.
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500Dante 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.
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500Planetary 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.
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0500Planetary 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.
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0500The 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.
Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0500Mat 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.