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A Tiny Explorer Called Twinkle

Artist's concept of the Twinkle mission

Air Date: 12/01/2015
Run Time: 28:50

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Topics: product review, Space Policy, atmospheres, asteroids, Planetary Radio, extrasolar planets, Bill Nye

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A small but talented UK team is building Twinkle, a small spacecraft with a big mission—exploring the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars. Emily Lakdawalla has posted her annual review of children’s books about space. Listen to win a signed copy of Randall Munroe’s “Thinking Big.” Bill Nye talks about good news for would-be asteroid miners, while Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan ponder first words on Mars in What’s Up.

Artist’s conception of Twinkle, the UK exoplanet atmosphere explorer

SSTL / Twinkle / DSS

Artist’s conception of Twinkle, the UK exoplanet atmosphere explorer

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Trivia Contest

This week's prizes are a lovely Planetary Radio t-shirt and a set of 2016 Year In Space Desk and Wall Calendars.

This week's question:

What was the seventh moon discovered in our solar system? (After our Moon, the four Galilean moons, and Titan?)

To submit your answer:

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

Last week's question:

What was the only time a launch escape system was fired with a crew aboard while the rocket was still on the pad?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What were Pete Conrad’s first words spoken as he stepped out of the Lunar Module onto the surface of the Moon?


When Apollo 12’s Pete Conrad stepped on the footpad of the Lunar Module he said, “Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me!” And when he stepped from the footpad to the lunar surface he added, “Oooh! Is that soft and queasy!”


No trivia contest spoilers please!

Bryan See: 12/01/2015 10:12 CST

Mat, good work on this edition of Planetary Radio. I hope your listeners enjoy it. Seriously though, it would be nice, if you provide an audio treat to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as interviewing future guests, such as Star Citizen's creator Chris Roberts, and The Big Bang Theory actors Jim Pearsons, Johnny Galecki, Melissa Rauch, and Mayim Bialik.

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