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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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Lucy in the Sky With Asteroids

April 24, 2019 • 47:22

A rare alignment of planets and other objects will enable the solar-powered Lucy spacecraft to examine seven asteroids, six of which are among the thousands of Trojan asteroids that orbit ahead of and behind Jupiter. The mission team, include Hal Levison, Cathy Olkin and Mike Sekerak, hope to unlock secrets of our solar system’s origin through these ancient artifacts.

The Triumph of a Failed Moon Landing

April 17, 2019 • 38:00

The Beresheet lunar lander failed in the last few kilometers of its descent to the Moon. Two days later we learned that its team would try 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.

Boosters, Breakthroughs and Budgets: Canada and the US Look Toward Space

March 13, 2019 • 35:14

The last few days have seen developments that will shape the space exploration plans of Canada and the USA. The Planetary Society’s Kate Howells is a member of Canada’s Space Advisory Board. She reviews the nation’s new space policy.

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.

SpaceX Builds a Big Falcon Rocket

September 26, 2018 • 40:54

A mostly SpaceX episode as the ambitious company provides updated details regarding its huge new rocket and introduces its first astronauts. Mat Kaplan shares more from the company’s headquarters, while Planetary Society Digital Editor explains and explores the BFR.

A Conversation with Freeman Dyson

June 13, 2018 • 39:38

There’s so much more to Freeman Dyson than the Dyson Sphere. The mathematician, physicist, futurist and author is one of the greatest and most original minds of our era.

AI, Space, and Humanity’s Future—A Conversation with David Brin

April 04, 2018 • 1:08:03

The multi-award winning science fiction author, futurist and speaker returns to Planetary Radio for a wide-ranging conversation about robots and humans in space, empathetic artificial intelligences, how we can survive the Singularity and much more.

A MESSENGER From Mercury—Principal Investigator Sean Solomon Returns

October 28, 2014 • 28:50

MESSENGER has been orbiting the innermost planet for more than three-and-half-years. Principal Investigator Sean Solomon returns with a status report as the mission enters its final phase.

Miguel Alcubierre, Inventor of Warp Drive?

September 09, 2014 • 28:50

Inspired by Star Trek, distinguished physicist Miguel Alcubierre developed the general relativity-based model for warp drive 20 years ago. Hear why he doubts it will ever be a reality, and learn about his current research on gravitational waves.

Alyssa Rhoden and the Rise of the Europa Underground

November 25, 2013 • 30:20

Alyssa Rhoden studies Jupiter’s moon Europa…from a distance. She, many other scientists and millions of space exploration fans around the globe want to see a mission to this ice world that hides a vast, warm ocean. That’s why she and several colleagues have created Destination: Europa, and they want your help.

Gregory and James Benford on the "Starship Century"

September 30, 2013 • 28:50

“Starship Century—Toward the Grandest Horizon” is the new collection of fact and fiction assembled by Gregory and James Benford. The brothers are among the leaders of a renaissance in research and thinking about interstellar travel. They have returned to Planetary Radio to talk about this story of human destiny among the stars.

Can We Touch the Stars? Lou Friedman at the 100-Year Starship Symposium

September 23, 2013 • 30:31

Only days after Voyager 1 reached interstellar space, forward thinkers met in Houston, Texas to consider how humans can become a starfaring species. Planetary Society Emeritus Executive Director Lou Friedman reports from the meeting.

Bleeding Edge--NIAC Chooses 12 New Out There Projects

August 12, 2013 • 31:25

They might be happy if one in ten of the projects they fund makes it in the real world…because that project just might change the world. We talk with Jay Falker, Program Executive for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program about 12 crazy and not so crazy ideas that have just received early seed funding.

Saving Science Education With Pamela Gay AND Creating the Blackest Black

June 10, 2013 • 35:12

A Planetary Radio double header includes a visit with CosmoQuest’s Pamela Gay. She and colleagues are working to replace vital federal funds for science education and citizen science programs. We also go to the dark side with David Carnahan of NanoLab, developer of carbon nanotubes that may help us discover Earth-like planets.

Alan Stern's Golden Spike Sets Sights on the Moon

March 04, 2013 • 28:50

Alan Stern is back to tell us about Golden Spike, his new company that plans to put human clients on the surface of the moon by the end of this decade.

A Vacuum Cleaner on Mars

October 29, 2012 • 28:50

It’s called PlanetVac, and it’s an amazingly simple way to collect a soil sample on Mars. Or on the moon. Or on an asteroid. We’ll learn about it from Kris Zacny of Honeybee Robotics.

Astronaut Tom Jones at SETIcon

August 06, 2012 • 43:01

Skywalker, scientist and author Tom Jones joins us in a fireside chat about Near Earth Objects and much more. Emily Lakdawalla tours the Applied Physics Lab in Maryland. Bill Nye the Science Guy put high value on the mission of Curiosity, the MSL Rover, even if it had not landed successfully. What’s Up in the night sky.

Mae Jemison of the 100 Year Starship Initiative

July 09, 2012 • 28:50

Retired astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison leads the 100 Year Starship Initiative. You’ll hear Mat’s conversation with her about this ambitious project in a SETIcon II fireside chat.

Author Kim Stanley Robinson Takes Us to 2312

May 28, 2012 • 39:15

Kim Stanley Robinson shares his vision of a brave new solar system 300 years in the future with his new novel, 2312.

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