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Planetary Radio Show Archives: 2017

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Pamela Gay and the Image Detective

October 18, 2017 • 38:43

Astronomer Pamela Gay tells us how anyone can work with images of Earth taken by astronauts, turning them into terrific scientific resources.

Dawn: Ten Years of Exploration

October 11, 2017 • 59:03

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.

Space Policy Edition #17: The 75th Anniversary of the Rocket Age, with Dr. Michael Neufeld

October 06, 2017 • 90:19

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.

Australia Gets Serious About Space

October 04, 2017 • 44:07

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.

Celebrating Cassini…Live!

September 27, 2017 • 1:28:48

More than 1,100 fans of the just-completed 20-year mission to Saturn joined us for a live tribute.

Long Live Cassini!

September 20, 2017 • 1:00:02

Join us at JPL and Caltech on the bittersweet morning the Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn.

Science Fiction Greats on Humanity’s Destiny in Space

September 13, 2017 • 1:10:39

Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society talks with Gregory Benford, David Brin, Geoffrey Landis and Larry Niven about terraforming Mars, the origin of life, the drive to explore and more.

Sailing on the Light of the Sun With Lou Friedman

September 06, 2017 • 49:21

The co-founder and Executive Director Emeritus of The Planetary Society returns for a conversation about the allure of sailing through space.

Space Policy Edition #16: NASA's Flagship Missions: Are They Worth It?

September 01, 2017 • 1:26:01

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.

Planetary Radio Live on the Eve of the Eclipse

August 30, 2017 • 1:14:00

With hours to go before the Great American Eclipse, nine outstanding guests joined host Mat Kaplan for Planetary Radio Live in front of 1,100 rowdy eclipse and space science fans.

Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker’s Last Appearance Before the Grand Finale

August 23, 2017 • 35:08

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.

Ed Stone and Forty Years of Voyager in Space

August 16, 2017 • 32:00

It is most space fans’ favorite planetary science mission, and with good reason. We visit with the man who has been in charge of Voyager mission science for more than four decades.

Dark Energy Attracts? Astrophysicists Jason Rhodes and Alina Kiessling

August 09, 2017 • 1:00:15

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.

Space Policy Edition #15 – Congressman Rick Larsen, Could Russia Exit the ISS?

August 04, 2017 • 1:23:07

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?

An Eye on the Sun (In the Middle of a Lake)

August 02, 2017 • 52:28

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.

Planetary Radio Live! Living on Mars

July 26, 2017 • 1:26:43

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.

Emily Lakdawalla on the Last Orbits of Cassini

July 19, 2017 • 28:50

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.

20 Years on Mars with Matt Golombek

July 12, 2017 • 49:44

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.

Space Policy Edition #14 – Ice Giants and Ocean Worlds Beckon

July 07, 2017 • 1:04:40

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.

A Cosmic Voyage with Astronomer Sandra Faber

July 05, 2017 • 1:04:12

Veteran astronomer and cosmologist Sandra Faber has just been awarded the Gruber Prize for Cosmology, honoring more than forty years of pioneering work. She talks with Mat Kaplan on this week’s show.

Happy Asteroid Day!

June 28, 2017 • 39:08

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.

Thomas Edison, Eclipse Chaser!

June 21, 2017 • 1:02:38

Former NPR science reporter David Baron discusses the stories of men and women who made their way across the American West to view and document the total solar eclipse of 1878.

Julie Webster and the Art of Spacecraft Endurance

June 14, 2017 • 47:53

How do you keep a dazzlingly complex spacecraft in good health after 20 years in space? That’s the challenge for Julie Webster and her team of engineers supporting the Cassini mission at Saturn.

Spectacular Jupiter!

June 07, 2017 • 42:47

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.

Space Policy Edition #13 – The 2018 Budget Proposal and Is Mars Exploration in Retrograde?

June 02, 2017 • 1:10:28

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.

Buzz Aldrin and Other Martians

May 31, 2017 • 58:27

He walked with Neil Armstrong on the moon, but that may not be his greatest legacy. Buzz Aldrin was joined by other space stars at the recent Humans To Mars Summit.

Human Spaceflight: Coming Back to America

May 24, 2017 • 47:39

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.

NASA Leaders on Getting Humans to Mars

May 17, 2017 • 1:05:00

The human journey to the Red Planet is long and hard, but Mat’s conversation with three NASA Associate Administrators at the Humans to Mars Summit was filled with cautious optimism.

Visiting Worlds Fantastic with Bonnie Buratti

May 10, 2017 • 56:09

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."

Space Policy Edition #12 – Is Space Policy Stagnant? With Special Guest Marcia Smith

May 05, 2017 • 1:27:25

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?

Be There! The Great American Eclipse

May 03, 2017 • 53:59

Our ongoing coverage of preparation for the Great American Eclipse takes us to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where a huge celebration is planned.

Bill Nye Saves the World…With Space

April 26, 2017 • 34:53

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.

McDonald Observatory and the Quest for Dark Energy

April 19, 2017 • 48:20

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.

Aerospace Corporation President and CEO Steve Isakowitz

April 12, 2017 • 58:09

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.

Space Policy Edition #11 – Big Science and a Skinny Budget

April 07, 2017 • 1:19:06

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’ Atmosphere…Lost in Space!

April 05, 2017 • 33:17

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.

Nancy Atkinson’s Incredible Stories from Space

March 29, 2017 • 47:09

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."

Ready for Space: LightSail 2 Update

March 22, 2017 • 34:49

The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 solar sail spacecraft is ready to be packed away for its ride to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Mat Kaplan checks the mission’s status with team members.

The Great American Eclipse—Be Part of It!

March 15, 2017 • 36:27

It’s coming! Will you be in the path of totality? Astronomers Without Borders President Mike Simmons says be there if you can.

Hope for Pluto—Should We Re-Redefine Planets?

March 08, 2017 • 33:51

Planetary geologist Kirby Runyon is lead author of an abstract that proposes a new, geophysical definition of what a planet is.

Space Policy Edition #10 - Special Guest Laura Delgado Lopez, SpaceX to the Moon, looming budget cuts

March 03, 2017 • 1:19:25

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 Worlds of TRAPPIST-1

March 01, 2017 • 33:56

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.

Planetary Radio Live: Near Earth Objects—The Killer Asteroid Threat

February 22, 2017 • 1:38:52

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.

Nazis in Space? Rod Pyle’s Amazing Stories of the Space Age

February 15, 2017 • 52:45

Rod Pyle reveals bizarre yet fascinating space projects of the past in his new book. Pyle also exposes previously classified information about missions and spacecraft you thought you knew.

Earth Microbes! Welcome to Mars

February 07, 2017 • 33:41

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?

Space Policy Edition #9 – Congress Plots New Space Legislation Amid Trump’s Tumultuous First Two Weeks

February 06, 2017 • 48:33

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.

The Final Countdown at Saturn

January 31, 2017 • 46:17

Planetary Radio’s most frequent guest, Project Scientist Linda Spilker, returns with another update on the Cassini mission that is approaching its grand finale.

Ice, Snow and Lava: Exploring Antarctica’s Mount Erebus

January 24, 2017 • 42:27

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.

Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan Leaves NASA

January 17, 2017 • 50:22

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.

Ben Miller Says The Aliens are Coming!

January 10, 2017 • 1:13:11

We are joined by British physicist turned comedian and actor Ben Miller, author of The Aliens are Coming! The Extraordinary Science Behind our Search for Life in the Universe.

Space Policy Edition #8 - A Transition "Trumpdate", 2016 in Review, and Answering Your Questions

January 05, 2017 • 1:19:19

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.

A Little Rocket Company Shoots for the Moon

January 03, 2017 • 57:33

CEO Randa Milliron introduces us to Interorbital Systems, which wants to put your payload in orbit for as little as $8,000. Can they do it?

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