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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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Celebrating Astronomy Day with the Giant Magellan Telescope

October 10, 2018 • 60:36

Happy Astronomy Day, October 13, 2018! We salute humankind’s long history of stargazing by checking in on what will be our planet’s largest telescope. Patrick McCarthy is an astronomer and a leader of the Giant Magellan Telescope project. He returns with a report on the instrument’s status, followed by a fascinating tour of the GMT facility.

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.

Visiting the Earth-Like Worlds of TRAPPIST-1

April 11, 2018 • 31:23

We have begun to understand the composition of worlds that are hundreds of trillions of kilometers from Earth. Astronomer Nikole Lewis is co-leader of a team that has used the Hubble Space Telescope to do this with the four Earth-like planets circling a star called TRAPPIST-1.

Mysterious Tabby’s Star, With Tabby Herself

January 10, 2018 • 44:46

It may not host an alien “megastructure” but Tabby’s Star still guards many mysteries of science. Astronomer and astrophysicist Tabetha “Tabby” Boyajian leads the worldwide team that is revealing this strange light in the sky.

Pamela Gay and the Image Detective

October 18, 2017 • 38:43

Astronomer Pamela Gay tells us how anyone can work with images of Earth taken by astronauts, turning them into terrific scientific resources.

A Cosmic Voyage with Astronomer Sandra Faber

July 05, 2017 • 1:04:12

Veteran astronomer and cosmologist Sandra Faber has just been awarded the Gruber Prize for Cosmology, honoring more than forty years of pioneering work. She talks with Mat Kaplan on this week’s show.

To Mars! With National Geographic

November 22, 2016 • 46:14

The National Geographic Channel’s “Mars” miniseries has begun. Mat Kaplan attended a kickoff for the ambitious docudrama last summer. You’ll hear from series technical advisor Bobby Braun, author of “The Martian” Andy Weir, Cosmos creator Ann Druyan and more.

Cassini at Saturn: The Final Year

September 20, 2016 • 29:02

The great Cassini spacecraft has a year to go before it plunges into the ringed planet. Project Scientist Linda Spilker returns with more amazing mission science.

A Death Valley Conversation About Life, The Universe and Everything With Tyler Nordgren and Jill Tarter

April 26, 2016 • 1:11:38

Beautiful Death Valley National Park was the setting for a fascinating conversation with famed SETI researcher Jill Tarter and celebrated astronomer, artist and photographer Tyler Nordgren.

Exploring Black Holes and Supernovae With NuSTAR

March 11, 2014 • 35:00

Principal Investigator Fiona Harrison provides an X-ray tour of some of the universe's most fascinating objects, Casey Dreier has analysis of NASA's 2015 budget plans, and Bill Nye sees the inherent optimism of science in the verification of another 715 exoplanets.

More of Our ALMA Adventure in Chile's Atacama Desert

March 25, 2013 • 28:50

Our special coverage of the ALMA Observatory inauguration continues, with the President of Chile, the incoming ALMA Director, and much more from the Atacama Desert.

ALMA Adventure

March 18, 2013 • 28:50

The first of two shows about Mat Kaplan's journey to Chile's Atacama Desert for the inauguration of the Atacama Large Millimeter small millimter Array, the most ambitious, Earth-based astronomy project in history.

The Gigantic ALMA Radio Telescope in Chile

January 21, 2013 • 28:50

ALMA will make sharper images than the Hubble Space Telescope, yet it’s a radio telescope! ALMA scientists Alison Peck and Al Wooten tell us about this array of 66 huge dishes in Chile’s Atacama desert.

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