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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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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, Rockets, and a Senatorial Encounter in Huntsville, Alabama

August 29, 2018 • 56:12

Host Mat Kaplan begins a two-episode visit to Huntsville and the Marshall Space Flight Center, recorded this week at the US Space and Rocket Center with astronaut Don Thomas, 94-year-old Apollo engineer Alex McCool, and Alabama Senator Doug Jones.

Pluto Occults! Join Us on the Mountain

August 22, 2018 • 36:24

Pluto passed in front of a star on the evening of August 14. Mat Kaplan joined pro and amateur astronomers on a mountain to observe this rare event. It may reveal more about the dwarf planet’s tenuous atmosphere and other properties.

Giving Mysterious Venus the Love (and Science) She Deserves

August 15, 2018 • 55:54

We have so much to learn about Venus, says JPL scientist Sue Smrekar. What we learn will help us understand our own world and Mars.

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.

Stephen Hawking: Spaceflight Pioneer!

March 21, 2018 • 39:06

He is known for his breakthrough physics and popularizing of science, but Dr. Hawking also wanted to fly in space. Erik Viirre led the medical team that helped Stephen experience weightlessness.

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."

The Eagle Has Landed: Remembering Neil Armstrong

July 19, 2016 • 28:50

We celebrate the 47th anniversary of the first moon landing with the reprise of a conversation with author and NBC space reporter Jay Barbree about his trusted friend Neil Armstrong.

Fighting for Space: Former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver

July 05, 2016 • 38:08

She has spent most of her life working toward a bright future for humanity in space, and Lori Garver has lost none of her passion. She visited the Planetary Society for a wide-ranging conversation with Mat Kaplan.

Leaving Behind a Life on Mars—Former Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger

March 17, 2015 • 34:46

The Mars Science Laboratory rover has accomplished its primary goals on the Red Planet, and John Grotzinger has left his central role to become Chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. He shares his thoughts about the ongoing mission and much more.

Jay Barbree on “Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight”

July 29, 2014 • 39:51

In his 55 years as NBC’s space correspondent, Jay Barbree has won the respect and friendship of many astronauts. Neil Armstrong stands above them all. Now Jay has created this very personal chronicle about his friend, with help from Neil and many of the other pioneering spacefarers.

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.

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.

Remembering Bruce Murray

September 02, 2013 • 49:32

The passing of Planetary Society co-founder and former JPL Director Bruce Murray has been marked around the world. Planetary Radio takes its turn with this special tribute.

A Cosmic Concert: Singer/Songwriter Peter Mayer on Planetary Radio Live

June 24, 2013 • 1:27:36

Join us at the intersection of science, nature, music and wonder for a very special Planetary Radio Live with the great Peter Mayer. Bill Nye is with host Mat Kaplan on stage in this unique episode, the longest we've ever presented. You'll hear eight of Pete's beautiful songs, including one that will be on his new CD.

Kindred Spirits: Alison Gibbings and Carolyn Shoemaker at the Planetary Defense Conference

April 29, 2013 • 28:50

Our special coverage of the PDC continues with two planetary scientists separated by almost 60 years in age, but with similar dedication and enthusiasm for saving the planet.

Listening Once Again to Amateur Astronomy Pioneer John Dobson

January 07, 2013 • 28:50

A reprise of our very popular conversation with the delightful 97-year old John Dobson, inventor of the Dobsonian telescope that brings the universe within everyone’s reach.

Celebrating Carl Sagan With Lou Friedman, Lynda Obst, Kip Thorne and More

November 12, 2012 • 30:39

November 9 was Planetary Society founder Carl Sagan's birthday, so we gathered a few of his close friends and several young scientists he inspired in front of a live audience. They also helped us celebrate Planetary Radio's 10th anniversary!

A Conversation With Telescope Inventor John Dobson

September 10, 2012 • 28:50

When John Dobson invented the Dobsonian telescope he changed the face of amateur astronomy. The 96-year old pioneer talks with Mat Kaplan. Emily Lakdawalla loves Curiosity’s self-portraits. Bill Nye the Science Guy is in London to host a youth webcast with International Space Station astronaut Sunita Williams. Bruce Betts keeps us from getting Lost in Space and helps Mat give away a cool Curiosity bumper sticker in What’s Up.

Remembering Neil Armstrong/ChemCam is Zapping Martian Rocks!

August 27, 2012 • 32:11

Emily Lakdawalla and Bill Nye the Science Guy join Mat Kaplan for a special remembrance of Neil Armstrong. Then we visit with the principal investigator for the first ray gun on Mars. Roger Wiens leads the ChemCam team that is using its powerful laser to zap and analyze Martian rocks. It’s just one of the Curiosity Rover success stories. Win a ChemCam bumper sticker and a Planetary Radio t-shirt in the weekly What’s Up space trivia contest!

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