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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.

Subscribe: Planetary Radio: Space Exploration, Astronomy and Science soundcloud
  Standard RSS Feed Space Policy Edition

Recent Shows

The Pale Red Dot: A Planet Called Proxima b

08/30/2016 | 35:32


  • Michael Endl, Research Scientist and Lecturer, McDonald Observatory, University of Texas at Austin

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?

08/23/2016 | 46:49


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

08/16/2016 | 38:39


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

08/09/2016 | 28:50


  • Dion Jackson, Program Director, USC Center for Economic Development
  • G. Marie Talnack, Director of Technology Transfer, Cal Poly Pomona
  • Bill Galary, Senior Engineer, Nye Lubricants
  • Bob Hoffman, Regional Engineering Manager, Western Regional Sales, Nye Lubricants

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

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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Interstellar Dreams Turn Real

08/02/2016 | 1:26:01


  • Philip Lubin, Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Travis Brashears, Undergraduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

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

07/26/2016 | 36:40


  • DJ Byrne, Lead Software Designer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Don Heyer, Digital Design Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Raul Perez, Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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

07/19/2016 | 28:50


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!

07/12/2016 | 48:25


  • Fran Bagenal, Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences,, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado
  • Guy Beutelschies, Director of Interplanetary Missions, Lockheed Martin Space Systems
  • Scott Bolton, Principal Investigator for JUNO
  • Elsa Jensen, JunoCam Instrument Operations Engineer, Malin Space Science Systems
  • Candice Hansen, Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute
  • Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist, The Planetary Society
  • Jonathan Nichols, Reader, University of Leicester
  • Rick Nybakken, Juno Project Manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Bill Nye, Chief Executive Officer

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

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.

More Info & Listen »

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