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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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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.

President Trump Sets Course for the Moon

December 13, 2017 • 31:52

On December 11th President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that firmly points the US space effort toward the Moon, but without providing many details. Planetary Society Director of Space Policy Casey Dreier fills in some of the gaps left by this executive directive.

Interstellar Dreams Turn Real

August 02, 2016 • 1:26:01

Philip Lubin and his former student Travis Brashears have had quite a year. Their bold plan to send tiny probes to nearby stars is now supported by NASA and the Breakthrough Starshot $100 million dollar initiative. Hear their amazing story.

A Big Test for LightSail 2

May 24, 2016 • 29:57

The Planetary Society’s solar sail spacecraft was in the middle of a critical test as we spoke with the Society’s Bruce Betts and Jason Davis.

Dream Chaser: The Return of the Spaceplane

May 10, 2016 • 28:50

We’re back at Space Symposium for a conversation with SNC’s Mark Sirangelo, leader of that company’s effort to build the Dream Chaser. We’ll also hear a few moments of Bill Nye’s session at the annual gathering as he hosted Bernard Foing and Amy Mainzer.

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.

Field Test: Planetary Deep Drill

December 15, 2015 • 28:50

Drilling through many meters of ice to Europa’s ocean or to the pristine sub-surface layers of Mars will be hard. The Planetary Deep Drill prototype has shown that it may be a practical approach. Join Mat Kaplan and Planetary Society colleagues at the field test site deep in California’s desert.

A Journey to Space

December 08, 2015 • 34:34

Journey to Space is both a new and spectacular IMAX movie and an exciting, hands-on exhibition at the California Science Center. We learn about both this week.

Exploring the Seas of Earth and Other Worlds

June 23, 2015 • 28:50

We return to the beautiful Aquarium of the Pacific in southern California for a fascinating conversation about ocean science. What we learn down here is furthering our research around the solar system. William Patzert, Jerry Schubel and Steven Vance join Mat Kaplan on stage. Emily Lakdawalla tells us what Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, has been doing lately. Bruce Betts is keeping his eye on converging Jupiter and Venus.

The Exciting Year Ahead on the Final Frontier

January 06, 2015 • 28:50

The Planetary Society’s experts look forward to a great year of firsts in the solar system and beyond.

Sara Seager and the Search for Earth’s Twin

December 16, 2014 • 29:42

MIT planetary scientist and astrophysicist Sara Seager is on a quest. She wants to find a warm, wet exoplanet with signs of life. It could be Earth 2.0.

2014: The Year We Landed on a Comet

November 25, 2014 • 28:50

Not just landed. Orbited, too. European Space Agency Senior Science Advisor Mark McCaughrean helps us celebrate the Rosetta orbiter and the Philae lander.

A Death-Defying Climax for Venus Express

August 05, 2014 • 28:50

Venus Express Project Scientist Håkan Svedhem tells us about the spacecraft’s harrowing descent into the Venusian atmosphere, what it is currently up to, and what he’d like to see next at that forbidding planet.

A 2014 Preview From Emily Lakdawalla

January 06, 2014 • 28:50

24 spacecraft are either busy exploring the solar system or speeding toward an exciting destination. The Planetary Society's Senior Editor takes us on a whirlwind advance tour.

Fire and Ice With Volcanologist Rosaly Lopes

July 16, 2012 • 45:56

JPL volcanologist Rosaly Lopes has discovered more volcanos than anyone else, including 71 on Jupiter’s moon Io. She is fascinated by these fiery (and sometimes frigid) features of our dynamic solar system, and shared her love at the recent SETIcon.

It's Mars Rover Opportunity, Only Smarter

April 12, 2010 • 0:28:52

JPL engineer Daniel Gaines helped develop new software for Opportunity to autonomously select objects for close-up imaging as she races across Mars. Emily Lakdawalla is thrilled by evidence of recently active volcanos on Venus. Bill Nye salutes three decades of service by retiring Planetary Society founder Lou Friedman.

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