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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.

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.

Big Science, Big Rocket at the Marshall Space Flight Center

September 05, 2018 • 49:38.05

Mat Kaplan’s Huntsville, Alabama trip wraps up with a tour of the historic and history-making Marshall Space Flight Center. Join him at the control center for research underway on the International Space Station, under a tent where a critical component of the Space Launch System rocket is getting finishing touches, in a conversation about the Fermi spacecraft’s search for the universe’s biggest explosions, and with the Center’s Associate Director for Technical efforts.

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.

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?

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."

Rocket Road Trip!

September 27, 2016 • 33:17

Planetary Society Digital Editor Jason Davis returns with the story of the ten-day trek across the South he just completed with two Society colleagues.

Could the Soviet Union Have Won the Space Race?

August 23, 2016 • 46:49

Space historian and policy expert John Logsdon joins Mat Kaplan for a fascinating conversation about how the US could have lost the race to the moon.

Space Policy Edition #3: Plutonium-238, Europa via SLS, Cost of the Next Mars Rover Rises

August 05, 2016 • 1:03:06

In our third episode, we debate the risks and rewards of tying the future of a Europa mission to the fate of NASA's massive Space Launch System rocket. Also, NASA just announced that the next Mars rover will cost $2.4 billion—$900 million more than initially thought. But the mission is not considered over budget. Why not? Lastly, the U.S. just generated 50 grams of Plutonium-238, the largest amount in nearly thirty years. We celebrate the successful effort to create this critically important, though highly toxic, power source for deep space spacecraft.

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.

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.

Exploring Saturn With Cassini

February 23, 2016 • 32:24

Cassini Mission Project Scientist Linda Spilker returns with the latest discoveries at the beautiful ringed planet, its moons and its rings.

Planetary Radio Extra: Planetary Society Experts 2015 Review

January 05, 2016 • 61:40

Bruce Betts, Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla gather with Mat Kaplan for a fascinating and informative Planetary Radio Extra year-in-review roundtable discussion.

2015: A Great Year for Space Exploration

December 29, 2015 • 28:50

Our year-end review features the “best of 2015” lists from Jason Davis, Casey Dreier, Emily Lakdawalla and Bill Nye the Science Guy. What’s Up offers planets, a comet, and a nice prize package for the space trivia contest.

Big Rockets and Little LightSails

October 13, 2015 • 28:50

Digital editor Jason Davis is a lucky guy. He follows and reports on human spaceflight progress, as well as the progress of the LightSail solar sail, which is about a year from its next flight.

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