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Planetary Radio

Planetary Radio

Each week, Planetary Radio visits with a scientist, engineer, project manager, astronaut, advocate or writer who provides a unique and exciting perspective on the exploration of our solar system and beyond. We also showcase regular features that raise your space IQ while they put a smile on your face.  Host Mat Kaplan is joined by Planetary Society colleagues Bill Nye the Science Guy, Bruce Betts, and Emily Lakdawalla. We hit the road now and then to produce a Planetary Radio Live show in front of an audience.  Drop us a line or enter the weekly space trivia contest at

Please support your local public radio station that airs the show! Check the station's online schedule or review our online list of affiliates. Satellite radio listeners can hear us Sunday evenings on the Sirius XM Public Radio channel.  Want to hear Planetary Radio on your local station? Ask them to contact us or review our radio affiliate information page.

iTunes and other podcast aggregators like Stitcher make it easy to listen and subscribe. Just search for "Planetary Radio." or click the links below.

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Recent Shows

Charley Kohlhase and the Greatest Voyage

10/18/2016 | 58:54


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

10/07/2016 | 1:03:18


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

09/02/2016 | 1:04:18


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

08/05/2016 | 1:03:06


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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Fighting for Space: Former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver

07/05/2016 | 38:08


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?

07/01/2016 | 1:09:14


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

06/03/2016 | 1:08:00


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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NASA’s Science Leader John Grunsfeld

05/17/2016 | 28:50


  • John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA

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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Interstellar Dreams: Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Aurora”

03/01/2016 | 1:08:15


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

02/23/2016 | 1:03:36


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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