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Mat KaplanDecember 18, 2013

This Week's Planetary Radio: Reporting Big News from AGU

News flash:  Scientists are social animals.  They gather online like the rest of us, but they really paint the town infrared when they join their colleagues at a conference.  Last week it was the annual Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.  Our Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla were there, and they report on some of what they saw and heard in this week’s Planetary Radio

Though the AGU meeting attracted lots of Earth-focused geoscientists (is that redundant?), some of the biggest news came from elsewhere in the solar system.  It’s hard to beat the Hubble-based discovery of plumes jetting from the south pole of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Emily talks about the science of this major find, while Casey uses it as yet another argument for adequate funding of planetary science missions.  Here’s the Planetary Society’s statement on the now imperative need for the Europa Clipper mission.  You can learn more about this exciting concept in my conversation about Destination:Europa with scientist Alyssa Rhoden three weeks ago.

Emily also explores the news from Curiosity that was hard to find in the major media.  The big rover has found a Martian rock that may date back to the birth of our solar system!  We also present the eerie sounds of Earth, as captured by the Juno spacecraft as it whipped past our homeworld on the way to Jupiter.  You’ll hear a human element in this song from space. 

The other big story is the successful soft landing of Chang’e 3 on the moon.  Bill Nye celebrates this achievement by China in our regular conversation.   Bruce Betts says the sky is still lousy with planets, led by brilliant Venus.  He and I give you another chance to win the beautiful 2014 Year in Space wall calendar in the space trivia contest.  Put listening to the show on your calendar.

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Mat Kaplan

Planetary Radio Host and Producer
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