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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

Humans Orbiting Mars!

09/29/2015 | 37:56


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

09/22/2015 | 28:50


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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Zooming In On Mars With Mastcam-Z

09/01/2015 | 28:50


  • Jim Bell, President of the Board of Directors, The Planetary Society
  • Justin Maki, Project Manager, Imaging Scientist and Instrument Systems Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Our reporting from the 2nd Mars 2020 Rover Landing Site Selection Workshop continues as we talk 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

08/25/2015 | 33:33


  • Matt Golombek, Co-chair, Mars Exploration Rover Landing Site selection committee
  • Lindsay Hays, Science Systems Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Ken Edgett, Senior Research Scientist, Malin Space Science Systems

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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Exploring the Seas of Earth and Other Worlds

06/23/2015 | 28:50


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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Chris Carberry and Getting Humans to Mars

06/02/2015 | 28:50


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

05/26/2015 | 28:50


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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Alan Stern and the Rise of Pluto

05/12/2015 | 28:50


  • Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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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Rob Manning and Landing on Mars

04/14/2015 | 39:56


  • Rob Manning, Chief Engineer, Mars Exploration Directorate, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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

04/07/2015 | 37:28


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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