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Planetary Radio Episodes

For every week since 2002, Planetary Radio has visited with a scientist, engineer, project manager, advocate or writer who provides a unique perspective on the quest for knowledge about our solar system and beyond. We also showcase regular features that raise your space IQ while they put a smile on your face.

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China on the Final Frontier

March 06, 2019 • 51:32

With missions like Chang’e 4 on the far side of the Moon, China has firmly established itself as a leader in space exploration. Space journalist Andrew Jones helps us explore the nation’s ambitious near and long-term plans.

Space Policy Edition: Should the U.S. be in a space race with China?

February 01, 2019 • 66:01

China's space program notched an impressive "first" last month when its Chang'e 4 spacecraft landed on the far side of the Moon. The U.S. space program, in contrast, was in the midst of an extended shutdown. Some observers expect China's growing space capability and lunar ambitions to trigger a new space race.

Countdown to Jupiter

June 28, 2016 • 40:14

Juno will enter Jupiter orbit on July 4th. Mat Kaplan talks with the mission’s Principal Investigator, Scott Bolton at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Bill Nye helps prepare us for this exciting encounter and the science that will follow.

Planet 9 From Outer Space!

February 09, 2016 • 49:10

Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin fully expect a new and undemotable ninth planet will be found in the outer reaches of the solar system. The Caltech researchers talk about their findings 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.

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 SpaceShipTwo and Antares Disasters: Special Coverage With John Logsdon

November 04, 2014 • 28:50

It was a terrible, tragic week for commercial space development. Historian and space policy analyst John Logsdon helps up understand the greater meaning of the SpaceShipTwo and Antares disasters on this special edition of Planetary Radio, with additional thoughts from Bill Nye.

The Gemini Planet Imager: Worlds Made Visible

January 13, 2014 • 31:19

Principal Investigator and physicist Bruce Macintosh joins astronomer Franck Marchis to celebrate first light from the most powerful instrument for imaging exoplanets.

10 Years A Roving: A.J.S. Rayl on the Mars Exploration Rovers

December 23, 2013 • 53:17

What a long, wonderful trip it has been for Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rovers. Planetary Society reporter A.J.S. Rayl has been writing about their adventure every month for ten years. She looks back on this week’s show.

A Big Week for Space Science at the AGU and Beyond

December 16, 2013 • 28:50

The annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union revealed lots of science, some of it astounding. Emily Lakdawalla was there with Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator Casey Dreier, whose news was not quite as good.

Celebrating the Admiral of the Solar System

December 02, 2013 • 29:30

The life of explorer and teacher Dr. Bruce Murray was celebrated last November 10th at Caltech. This week we present a few excerpts from the tributes paid to the former JPL Director and co-founder of the Planetary Society.

It's Hot! Plutonium 238 is Back

October 28, 2013 • 32:08

Casey Dreier tells the winding tale of Plutonium 238, the radioactive isotope that is vital for exploration of the solar system. The US came dangerously close to exhausting its supply. Even with production restarted, there are major challenges facing explorers.

Taikonauts on the Moon? A Conversation With Leonard David

August 26, 2013 • 28:50

Leonard David has been writing about space exploration for more than five decades. Now he has turned his attention to China’s ambitious plans.

Sun Rings: Music of the Spheres From the Kronos Quartet

May 13, 2013 • 28:50

The internationally renown string quartet talk about creating and performing Terry Riley's Sun Rings, that incorporates Don Gurnett's space sounds.

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