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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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Space Policy Edition: Why Apollo Happened (with Roger Launius)

July 05, 2019 • 2:03:54

Space historian Dr. Roger Launius joins the show to explain why Apollo happened the way it did, how a moonshot briefly became a solution to a national security problem, and why it is unlikely to happen again.

Space Policy Edition: T-minus Five Years and Counting

April 05, 2019

Can NASA return astronauts to the Moon by 2024? Vice President Mike Pence shocked the space community by announcing this ambitious new goal just weeks after the Trump Administration proposed a half-billion dollar cut to the space agency.

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.

Space Policy Edition: Shutdown

January 18, 2019 • 58:54

In a government shutdown seemingly without end, we bring you two stories from individuals directly impacted by the crisis. NASA scientist and union representative Lee Stone discusses the missed paychecks, loss of science, and lasting negative consequences to the public sector scientific workforce.

At the Space Settlement Summit With Former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden

December 12, 2018 • 50:06

He led NASA for eight years, but not till he had flown on four Space Shuttle missions and enjoyed a long military career. Charlie Bolden talks with Mat about his time at the space agency and where we’re headed on the final frontier.

Space Policy Edition: Canada's Uncertain Future in Space (with Kate Howells)

December 07, 2018 • 67:56

Canada was the third country in history to launch a satellite into space, but now lags in its space ambitions, capability, and spending. What happened?

Space Policy Edition: After the Midterms—Looking Ahead with Marcia Smith

November 16, 2018 • 50:08

The counting continues as we publish this month’s special episode, with a handful of seats in the US Senate and House still up for grabs. But with the Democratic takeover of the House assured, and several longtime space advocates turned out, change is certainly coming.

Space Policy Edition: How NASA Came to Be

October 05, 2018 • 69:26.39

Happy 60th, NASA. In celebration of the space agency’s birthday, we do the audio equivalent of pulling out NASA’s baby book and explore its origin story.

Space Policy Edition: Did NASA Ace its Midterms? With Special Guest Louise Prockter

September 07, 2018 • 1:25:07

We talk with planetary scientist and Lunar and Planetary Institute Director Louise Prockter, who co-led creation of a new report evaluating the performance of NASA's planetary science division.

Space Policy Edition: Space Force! With Special Guest Brian Weeden

July 06, 2018 • 1:46:33

President Trump recently ordered the creation of Space Force—but what does that mean? What are the implications for militarization of space? National security expert Dr. Brian Weeden joins the show to explain the announcement.

Kathryn Sullivan, Space Dentistry and More at the International Space Development Conference

June 20, 2018 • 45:51

Freeman Dyson wasn’t the only space star at the ISDC. Mat talks with former astronaut and NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, leaders of the Cassini mission, innovative students and an expert on dental care in space.

Space Policy Edition: Lori Garver on what a NASA Administrator (and Deputy) actually does

April 06, 2018 • 1:17:07

Lori Garver, former Deputy Administrator of NASA, talks with Casey about what the Deputy and Administrator jobs are like day-to-day, how decisions actually get made at the top, and why the current lack of confirmed leadership hurts the space agency.

Space Policy Edition #23 - Blitzing Congress: Planetary Society volunteers visit Capitol Hill

March 02, 2018 • 35:33

Society members from 21 states descended on the U.S. capitol for a "blitz" of 178 meetings in two days. Casey and special guest Matt Renninger explain why that is such an important activity, and blitzers Leah and Stefanie Griffith share their story of coming to Washington to speak for 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.

Space Policy Edition #7 - The Trump Administration: What Can We Expect for Space?

December 02, 2016 • 1:01:51

The SPE team reviews the outlook for human spaceflight, planetary science, Earth observation and much more under the upcoming Trump administration.

Space Policy Edition #1: How We Got Here: Human Spaceflight at the End of the Obama Era

June 03, 2016 • 1:08:00

In the premiere of this new monthly series we briefly examine the latest move by the House of Representatives in the game of NASA's budget and then discuss what Lockheed Martin's new "Mars Base Camp" proposal takes from The Society's Humans Orbiting Mars workshop. Our featured discussion takes a deep dive into the story of President Obama's impact on human spaceflight--how NASA ended up with a mixed program of commercial systems and big government programs.

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.

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.

Advocating for Planetary Science/Star Trek Meets Spacefarers

May 20, 2013 • 30:45

The director and cast of Star Trek: Into Darkness meet up with real space travelers. Also: Planetary science funding from NASA is in trouble, so a delegation led by Bill Nye the Science Guy descended on Washington DC last week to sound the alarm. Planetary Society Advocacy chief Casey Dreier provides a report, and comments on the Society’s support for NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval Mission.

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