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Planetary Radio Show Archives: 2015

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2015: A Great Year for Space Exploration

December 29, 2015 • 28:50

Our year-end review features the “best of 2015” lists from Jason Davis, Casey Dreier, Emily Lakdawalla and Bill Nye the Science Guy. What’s Up offers planets, a comet, and a nice prize package for the space trivia contest.

Planetary Radio Extra: Casey Dreier on the 2016 NASA Budget

December 22, 2015 • 38:44

Mat Kaplan sits down with our Director of Advocacy, Casey Dreier, for a discussion of NASA's 2016 budget.

Congressman John Culberson on a Good Day for Space

December 22, 2015 • 33:59

The newly-approved federal budget includes great news for fans of space exploration and development. Texas Congressman John Culberson led the fight for a Europa mission, the SLS rocket, commercial crew and more. He tells us why on this week’s show.

Field Test: Planetary Deep Drill

December 15, 2015 • 28:50

Drilling through many meters of ice to Europa’s ocean or to the pristine sub-surface layers of Mars will be hard. The Planetary Deep Drill prototype has shown that it may be a practical approach. Join Mat Kaplan and Planetary Society colleagues at the field test site deep in California’s desert.

A Journey to Space

December 08, 2015 • 34:34

Journey to Space is both a new and spectacular IMAX movie and an exciting, hands-on exhibition at the California Science Center. We learn about both this week.

A Tiny Explorer Called Twinkle

December 01, 2015 • 28:50

A small but talented UK team is building Twinkle, a small spacecraft with a big mission—exploring the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars.

Movers and Shakers at SpaceCom Expo

November 24, 2015 • 31:16

We join 1,600 space entrepreneurs and visionaries in Houston, and talk with Boeing, XCOR, Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa and more.

Solar System Revelations, and the World’s Biggest Telescope Threatened?

November 17, 2015 • 28:50

Emily Lakdawalla returns from the annual Division for Planetary Sciences meeting with big news from around the solar system. Then we talk with science journalist Traci Watson about the departure of the great Arecibo radio telescope’s Director and the funding challenge that could shut down the observatory.

From Mars to the Stars With Lou Friedman

November 10, 2015 • 47:33

The founding Executive Director of the Planetary Society has just written “Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars,” an optimistic view of humanity’s future in the solar system and beyond.

A 35th Anniversary Party With Neil Tyson!

November 03, 2015 • 31:47

It was a grand night at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. CEO Bill Nye led the Planetary Society’s 35th anniversary party with guests including Neil deGrasse Tyson and Deputy NASA Administrator Dava Newman. We present a very brief sampling of the celebration.

A Conversation with Andy Weir of “The Martian”

October 27, 2015 • 1:07:51

“The Martian” has won universal acclaim from scientists, astronauts, NASA, science fiction fans, and people who thought they weren’t science fiction fans. Mat Kaplan talks with the author about his harrowing, uplifting, amazingly detailed and realistic tale.

Pluto Amazes!

October 20, 2015 • 38:40

Hal Weaver is a very happy Project Scientist. His New Horizons spacecraft has shocked his fellow researchers with magnificent images and data. He shares the excitement this week.

Big Rockets and Little LightSails

October 13, 2015 • 28:50

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.

Imaging Hot Young Jupiters

October 06, 2015 • 28:50

Franck Marchis is on the team that has delivered an actual image of a young, hot world about 100 light years from Earth. We talk with him on the 20th anniversary of the first exoplanet discovery.

Humans Orbiting Mars!

September 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.

Zibi Turtle and a Mission to the Ice Giants

September 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.

OSIRIS-REx Readies for Asteroid Bennu

September 15, 2015 • 28:50

Dante Lauretta heads the most ambitious mission to an asteroid ever mounted. With one year left till launch, he returns to Planetary Radio with an update.

Flying High on SOFIA

September 08, 2015 • 32:25

Planetary Radio returns to SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, but this time we fly in the giant 747 turned telescope platform. It was a night to remember.

Zooming In On Mars With Mastcam-Z

September 01, 2015 • 28:50

Planetary Radio talks with Jim Bell and Justin Maki, leaders of the development team for the most advanced camera ever planned for the surface of Mars.

The Right Site: Choosing A Landing Spot on Mars

August 25, 2015 • 33:33

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.

Planetary Radio Extra: Checking in on NASA's Budget with the Planetary Society's Director of Advocacy Casey Dreier

August 18, 2015 • 36:18

Mat Kaplan sits down with our Director of Advocacy, Casey Dreier, for a deep dive into current space policy.

Living Under the Sea With NASA Aquanaut David Coan

August 18, 2015 • 32:12

Mat Kaplan talked with engineer and NEEMO Expedition 20 team member David Coan while he was hard at work with astronauts and other engineers living in the Aquarius undersea habitat.

A New Era For SETI Research: More on the Breakthrough Initiatives

August 11, 2015 • 39:23

We follow last week’s conversation with Ann Druyan about the $100 million funding of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by visiting with two of the scientists who will do the work: Dan Werthimer of UC Berkeley and Karen O’Neil of the Green Bank Telescope.

Ann Druyan and the Breakthrough SETI Initiatives

August 04, 2015 • 30:07

The Breakthrough Initiatives will pump $100 million into the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence in the next 10 years, vastly expanding humanity’s quest to learn if it has company in the universe. Among the leaders of this brave new project is Cosmos creator Ann Druyan. Join us for a special, extended conversation with Ann.

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich and the Quest for Longitude

July 28, 2015 • 43:09

Come with us on a visit to the home of the prime meridian for a conversation with the curator of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich about the race to create a practical means for determining longitude.

Planetary Radio Live at the New Horizons Pluto Encounter

July 21, 2015 • 28:50

Join our live audience for highlights of an amazing evening, featuring Jim Bell, Bruce Betts, Mike Brown, Emily Lakdawalla, Linda Spilker, and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

A Small, Distant World: Kepler 138b

July 14, 2015 • 28:50

SETI Institute scientist Jason Rowe returns to tell us about the smallest exoplanet so far that has had its size and mass determined. Jason also talks with Mat about our ever-expanding knowledge of these worlds that circle faraway stars.

Emily Lakdawalla’s Pluto Preview

July 07, 2015 • 28:50

Two visits with the Planetary Society Senior Editor this week, as Emily first provides an update on the Rosetta comet mission and then returns with an extended look ahead at the New Horizons Pluto encounter next week.

Saving the Planet: Voices From the Planetary Defense Conference

June 30, 2015 • 28:50

We’ve already brought you Planetary Radio Live from the 2015 PDC near Rome, Italy. Now you’ll hear a small sampling of the scientists, engineers, policymakers and media experts who spent five days considering how humanity will respond to a potentially disastrous threat. Bruce Betts celebrates the great Jupiter-Venus conjunction in What’s Up. Bill Nye and Emily Lakdawalla return next week.

Exploring the Seas of Earth and Other Worlds

June 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.

LightSail Triumphant! A Mission Press Conference

June 16, 2015 • 28:50

After a roller coaster ride that included a maddening eight-day silence, the LightSail test mission finally achieved all of its major goals. Leaders of the mission team gathered on June 10th to take questions from the media, and share their thoughts and emotions with the general public. Today’s show presents highlights of that briefing. Emily Lakdawalla is seeing things on Pluto, and she’s not alone. Bruce Betts takes Mat Kaplan on a walk in space during this week’s What’s Up segment.

Cassini Update AND LightSail Spreads its Wings!

June 09, 2015 • 28:50

Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker, returns with another update on the magnificent mission at Saturn. You’ll also hear Bill Nye and the moment when LightSail began to deploy its solar sail.

Chris Carberry and Getting Humans to Mars

June 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.

The Launch of LightSail

May 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.

Spiraling Closer to Ceres With the Dawn Mission’s Marc Rayman

May 19, 2015 • 33:59

It’s the biggest dwarf planet between here and Pluto, and it has a new permanent resident. The Dawn spacecraft is orbiting Ceres in the asteroid belt, revealing it as never before. What are those bright spots anyway? We spend time with Dawn’s Chief Engineer and Director, Marc Rayman.

Alan Stern and the Rise of Pluto

May 12, 2015 • 28:50

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.

Sean Solomon on the Climactic End of the MESSENGER Mission to Mercury

May 05, 2015 • 28:50

We open with the countdown to destruction—the MESSENGER spacecraft’s impact on Mercury ended its spectacularly successful mission. Principal Investigator Sean Solomon joins us immediately after this big finish.

Countdown to LightSail: An Update

April 28, 2015 • 28:50

The road to space has been a rocky one for most spacecraft, and LightSail is no different. Challenges remain even with the May 20th launch of a test mission approaching. Embedded LightSail reporter Jason Davis checks in with the latest news.

Saving the Planet at the Planetary Defense Conference

April 21, 2015 • 28:50

Planetary Radio Live was the only public event at the just-completed Planetary Defense Conference in Italy. Join us for excerpts from an all-star celebration of worldwide efforts to find, track, characterize and eventually deflect killer Near-Earth Objects.

Rob Manning and Landing on Mars

April 14, 2015 • 39:56

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.

Humans Orbiting Mars: Report on the Workshop

April 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.

Robert Bigelow and His Expandable Space Habs

March 31, 2015 • 28:50

Bigelow Aerospace’s BEAM expandable/inflatable space module will be attached to the International Space Station later this year. Mat travels to the company’s headquarters for a conversation with founder and CEO Robert Bigelow.

Big News From Little Worlds

March 24, 2015 • 28:50

Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla has returned from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas with the latest revelations about our solar system. She shares them in an extended report.

Leaving Behind a Life on Mars—Former Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger

March 17, 2015 • 34:46

The Mars Science Laboratory rover has accomplished its primary goals on the Red Planet, and John Grotzinger has left his central role to become Chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. He shares his thoughts about the ongoing mission and much more.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides on LauncherOne and the Return of SpaceShipTwo

March 10, 2015 • 28:50

6,000 job-seekers came to the new Long Beach, California home of Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne rocket on a recent morning. We sit down with CEO George Whitesides for a conversation about this new effort and the return of SpaceShipTwo.

Jim Bell Welcomes “The Interstellar Age”

March 03, 2015 • 46:07

Planetary scientist and author Jim Bell has just written “The Interstellar Age—Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission.” He talks with Mat Kaplan about the magnificent grand tour of the outer solar system that is now headed toward the stars.

Jonathan Goff Says Let’s Redirect an Asteroid

February 24, 2015 • 28:50

ARM is the Asteroid Redirect Mission, and sometimes it seems that it doesn’t have a friend in the world. But it does, and Jonathan Goff of Altius Space Machines is one.

Found! Beagle 2 on Mars

February 17, 2015 • 28:50

The Beagle 2 Mars lander disappeared after it separated from the Mars Express orbiter on Christmas Day, 2003. Eleven years later, it has been found, partially-deployed on the Martian surface. Longtime Beagle 2 mission leader Mark Sims tells the story.

Planetary Radio Extra: A Deep Dive into the New NASA Budget—A New Mission to Europa, But the End of Opportunity?

February 10, 2015 • 40:02

The just-released budget for the US space agency has much that fans of planetary science can be grateful for, though the news is not all pos.

Year of the Icy Worlds

February 10, 2015 • 28:50

We’ll visit the Jet Propulsion Lab on its Icy Worlds Day to learn more about spacecraft exploring Ceres, Enceladus and Europa from leaders of these missions.

Tales From a 4 Billion Year Old Piece of Mars...On Earth

February 03, 2015 • 28:50

Robina Shaheen and Mark Thiemens tell us how an ancient Mars meteorite has revealed much about the red planet. Mat holds a tiny fragment of the rock in their UC San Diego lab.

LightSail Prepares to Take Flight

January 27, 2015 • 28:50

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.

A Recipe for a Small Planet

January 20, 2015 • 28:50

Astronomer and planetary scientist Courtney Dressing is the lead author of research that may have found the formula for the mass and composition of Earth-like planets. She reveals the ingredients and why she spent time at JPL while in high school.

Dr. J and the World’s Biggest Telescope

January 13, 2015 • 36:11

Joe Liske, host of Hubblecast, is also the top scientist on the European Southern Observatory’s European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), now under construction on a Chilean mountaintop. “Dr. J” tells us what this largest ever telescope will help us discover.

The Exciting Year Ahead on the Final Frontier

January 06, 2015 • 28:50

The Planetary Society’s experts look forward to a great year of firsts in the solar system and beyond.

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