The first confirmed interstellar visitor to our solar system is a needle-shaped asteroid given the Hawaiian name ‘Oumuamua. Karen Meech leads the team that is learning as much about it as possible before it leaves our neighborhood, never to return.
Elon Musk. Jeff Bezos. Richard Branson. These are the names we tend to associate with the current era of private space exploration. But what about John Quincy Adams, James Lick, or Charles Yerkes? Space economist and historian Dr. Alex MacDonald joins us to discuss his book, "The Long Space Age," which chronicles the history of private investment in U.S. space exploration all the way back to the 18th century.
Jason and Casey also discuss the consequences of the House GOP tax plan, which could raise taxes on thousands of graduate students. Also, the coming budget showdown and possible consequences for NASA projects.
Moon Express Founder and CEO Bob Richards shares an inspiring vision for a return to the Moon. It includes introduction of a sophisticated line of robotic spacecraft, the first of which may make a soft landing next year.
Congressman Adam Schiff’s California district includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is as enthusiastic a fan of the final frontier as you are likely to find under the capitol dome in Washington D.C.
The likely next Administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, appeared before a somewhat skeptical Senate committee to defend his nomination. Casey and Jason recap the hearing and assess Congressman Bridenstine’s chance of moving forward.
Join us for a wide-ranging, salon-style conversation about space exploration, science, art and more. Mat’s guests are astronomer, television producer/writer and former Star Trek science advisor André Bormanis and Planetary Society Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla.
Are we alone? The nearly sixty-year effort to answer that question has gotten a big boost from the Breakthrough Initiatives, funded by Yuri Milner and led by former NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden, who is our guest this week.
Dawn Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman helps us salute the ion-engine powered spacecraft that first orbited asteroid Vesta in the main asteroid belt and then moved to dwarf planet Ceres, revealing two fascinating worlds.
Fifteen years before Sputnik, on a bright 1942 afternoon in northern Germany, a thundering machine of metal and fire pierced the sky, ultimately touching the edge of space for the first time in history. It opened a new era of opportunity and terror with rocket technology. Dr. Michael Neufeld joins us discuss the significance of this test and how it happened.
The Australian government announced that it would create a national space agency at the 68th annual International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide. We’ll talk with IAC 2017 CEO Brett Biddington about what this means for his country.
The multi-billion dollar, multi-decade Cassini mission is about to end. A new report tries to answer an important question: are flagship science missions like Cassini worth the effort and expense? And how can NASA maximize the value of these endeavours? Dr. Ralph McNutt, co-chair of the National Academies study, reviews the report’s recommendations.
It’s the Grandest Finale. The spectacular Cassini mission’s exploration of Saturn will end on September 15th when the spacecraft plunges into the planet. Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker is back with one last mission update.
JPL astrophysicists Alina Kiessling and Jason Rhodes were brought together by their fascination over the mystery of dark energy. They talk with Planetary Radio about their research and the many missions they are contributing to, including WFIRST, a unique new space telescope.
New U.S. sanctions against Russia have reignited speculation that global politics could undermine cooperation in the International Space Station. Could Russia cut off rides for US astronauts to the ISS? Later, Casey Dreier joins Spark Science host Dr. Regina Barber Degraaff for a conversation with U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen, Democratic representative of Washington state’s 2nd District. We also check in on NASA's 2018 budget, which is currently moving through the Senate. Did they provide funding for a new Mars orbiter?
The world’s most powerful solar telescope has just been renamed for the man responsible for its creation. We’ll meet astrophysicist and helioseismologist Phil Goode, and we’ll enjoy a tour of the Goode Solar Telescope.
Will humans live, work and thrive on Mars? What challenges must be met before we can become Martians? On July 20th, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Mat Kaplan welcomed an outstanding panel of experts for conversation in front of a Pasadena, California audience.
The Cassini Mission has less than two months to go before it ends with a spectacular plunge into the beautiful ringed world. Planetary Society Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla has prepared a guide to the last orbits by the historic spacecraft.
When the Pathfinder lander reached Mars 20 years ago it began a Martian renaissance that has never paused. JPL scientist Matt Golombek was the mission’s Project Scientist. He looks back and to the future of our explorations at the Red Planet.
A new report builds the case for long overdue returns to Uranus and Neptune, while another proposal calls for exploration of the many bodies in our solar system that hide vast water oceans. Jason Callahan, Casey Dreier and Mat Kaplan dive into the troubled waters that determine which planetary science missions will get the limited funds available.
Asteroid Day, June 30th, marks the anniversary of the great Tunguska impact that leveled a Siberian forest. It reminds us that a Near Earth Object can destroy a city or even a civilization. Former Minor Planet Center Director Tim Spahr reviews our efforts to find and understand these bodies.
Have you seen its stunning image of Jupiter’s south pole? The Juno orbiter is surpassing expectations and delivering surprising science. Scott Bolton, the mission’s Principal Investigator, is back with a thrilling report.
The Trump Administration released its proposed FY2018 budget just days ago. Casey Dreier, Jason Callahan and Mat Kaplan dive deep into what this controversial plan means for NASA and how it has been received by Congress.
Astronauts may soon ride on US rockets and in US spaceships for the first time since the last Space Shuttle flight. Jon Cowart of NASA is working with SpaceX toward the first launch of a Dragon spacecraft with humans on board.
Veteran Jet Propulsion Lab planetary scientist Bonnie Buratti talks with Mat about the wonder of our solar neighborhood that she explores in "Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar—A Guided Tour of the Solar System."
Moon or Mars? Should NASA depend on private companies? What’s the goal of human spaceflight? These questions were debated three decades ago, yet are just as relevant today. Does that mean space policy is stagnant?
It was a big week for the Science Guy, and for science. Bill Nye served as honorary co-chair of the March for Science in Washington DC. His new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World, premiered the next day. Two of the show’s thirteen episodes are devoted to space science and exploration. Bill talks about all this in a special conversation with Mat Kaplan.
The University of Texas at Austin’s observatory is high in the hills of west Texas. In this special episode, Mat Kaplan joins the tens of thousands who visit it each year. The occasion was the dedication of the vastly upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope, third largest on Earth.
The Aerospace Corporation has been innovating since 1960. Now it’s headed by a former leader of “New Space” company Virgin Galactic. President and CEO Steve Isakowitz talks about the evolving culture of the space industry.
Whether it’s discovering gravity waves, curing cancer or building a space station, the biggest science challenges increasingly require investments that are beyond what private industry can afford and collaborations that include many nations. Casey, Jason and Mat look at the history of big science and the outlook for future efforts. The team also reviews the 2018 budget proposed for NASA by the Trump Administration, and shares other space policy news from Washington.
Mars was once a warm and wet world. Then its dense, protective atmosphere mostly vanished. Learning why was one of the greatest mysteries in planetary science. The answer has just been delivered by the MAVEN orbiter.
The longtime editor of outstanding online space news source Universe Today has just written about nine robotic missions of exploration in "Incredible Stories From Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos."
Laura Delgado Lopez from the Harris Corporation joins us to talk about the growing number of countries getting into the space business, particularly in Latin America. Casey, Jason, and Mat also take stock of SpaceX's plans to send humans around the Moon in 2018, and how the newly-announced Trump budget cuts could hurt NASA.
The discovery of seven, Earth-sized planets in a nearby solar system was announced last week. Astrophysicist and planetary scientist Sara Seager joins us to share her excitement about this find that includes three planets in the habitable zone.
Leaders of the quest to find, understand and protect ourselves from the asteroids and comets called Near Earth Objects gathered with host Mat Kaplan for a live conversation about this existential threat from space.
University of Arkansas grad student Rebecca Mickol and her team have demonstrated that some Earth bacteria can survive in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars. Could Martian bacteria thrive under the same conditions?
It’s still too early to say where the Trump Administration will take NASA, but there are a few hints. Congress is not waiting. Casey, Jason and Mat review a draft of the space agency’s authorization bill and a separate act that asks NASA to lay out its plans for humans to reach Mars.
Earth’s southernmost active volcano may also be its most remote. Rosaly Lopes and Michael Carroll recently spent a few frigid days on the slopes of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus. What they learned may help us understand volcanos on other worlds.
For well over three years, planetary scientist Ellen Stofan has worked directly with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to help coordinate and expand the myriad science efforts by the agency. We talk with her as she ends this remarkable tenure.
After an opening update on the presidential transition, Casey, Jason and Mat share their nominees for the biggest space exploration events of 2016. Then they take on fascinating questions submitted by listeners. You’ll also hear the surprising early announcement of NASA’s next Discovery missions.