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Planetary RadioJanuary 27, 2015

LightSail Prepares to Take Flight

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On This Episode
Doug Stetson
Doug Stetson

LightSail Project Manager, The Planetary Society

Jason Davis thumbnail
Jason Davis

Digital Editor, The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has just announced that LightSail will be launched into orbit on its first test flight in May. We’ll talk with Project Manager Doug Stetson and embedded LightSail reporter Jason Davis about what to expect. Bill Nye welcomes a special guest to a conversation about the meaning of this privately-funded solar sail. Emily Lakdawalla updates the Curiosity Mars rover mission and shares spectacular images from the Rosetta comet exploration. We close with Director of Science and Technology Bruce Betts and his recommendations of What’s Up this week.

LightSail from above

The Planetary Society

LightSail from above
This shot of LightSail's deployed solar sails was taken from the second story window above the high bay in the Cal Poly Bonderson Projects Center.

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Trivia Contest

This week's prize is the 2015 Year in Space Wall and Desk Calendars AND a stylish Planetary Radio t-shirt!

This week's question:

Ceres, Pallas and Vesta are the largest asteroids. What is the fourth largest asteroid?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Tuesday, February 3 at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Of the five currently IAU-recognized dwarf planets, which has the longest orbital period or year, and how long is that year?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

To the nearest half-hour, how long did it take the Huygens probe to descend from the top of Titan’s atmosphere to the surface?


It took just under two-and-a-half hours for the Huygens probe to descend from the top of Titan’s atmosphere to the moon’s surface.

Listen more: Rosetta and Philae, Planetary Society Projects, comets, comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Planetary Radio, LightSail, Planetary Society People, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), Bill Nye

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