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Big Rockets and Little LightSails


Air Date: 10/13/2015
Run Time: 28:50

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Topics: product review, SLS, Planetary Society Projects, human spaceflight, Planetary Society Political Advocacy, LightSail, Mars, Planetary Society, rockets, Bill Nye

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Digital editor Jason Davis is a lucky guy. He follows and reports on human spaceflight progress, as well as the progress of the LightSail solar sail, which is about a year from its next flight. Emily Lakdawalla shares her thoughts about the Mars depicted in The Martian, while Bill Nye has sharp words for NASA’s new plan for getting humans there.

Pluto's brilliant 'heart'


Pluto's brilliant 'heart'
This high-resolution image captured by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface shows a remarkable range of subtle colors, enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. The bright expanse is the western lobe of the “heart,” informally known as Tombaugh Regio. The lobe, informally called Sputnik Planum, has been found to be rich in nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane ices.

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Trivia Contest

This week's prizes are a lovely Planetary Radio t-shirt and a Planetary Society rubber asteroid of your very own!

This week's question:

As of 1980 AND 2015, how many worlds had either been soft-landed on or had successful atmospheric probes? No touch-and-go or fly-through sample return missions.

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Tuesday, October 20th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

As of 1980, how many planets had been orbited? And how many have been orbited by 2015?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

Who was the only woman to perform a solo space flight?


Valentina Tereshkova is the only woman to have flown solo in space.


No trivia contest spoilers please!

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