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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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Smashing Holes in Mars to Look for Life

September 02, 2014 • 28:50

Explore Mars wants to look for life on the Red Planet. Not past life. Life thriving under the Martian surface right now. Chris Carberry will tell us how the ExoLance project might find it.

Alan Stern and a Big Milestone on the Way to Pluto

August 26, 2014 • 28:50

New Horizons passed through the orbit of Neptune on August 25th. By cosmic coincidence, this was the 25th anniversary of Voyager 2’s flyby of that big, blue world. We catch Principal Investigator Alan Stern right after a celebration in Washington.

Journey to the Center of Jupiter: Creating Fantastic Pressure With the World’s Largest Lasers

August 19, 2014 • 29:52

Physicist Gilbert "Rip" Collins of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab will tell us about recent use of the world’s most powerful lasers to recreate conditions at the cores of giant planets.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Polluters?

August 12, 2014 • 28:50

Harvard’s Henry Lin led work that determined the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope may be able to detect an alien civilization by analyzing its atmosphere.

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.

Planetary Radio Live: The LightSail Countdown Begins!

July 15, 2014 • 28:50

LightSail, the Planetary Society’s innovative solar sail cubesat, will ride into space on the huge SpaceX Falcon Heavy, now in development. Bill Nye and others join us for a live celebration of this announcement.

Discovered: Titan's Magic Island

July 08, 2014 • 29:50

Cornell grad student Jason Hofgartner reports on the discovery of what appears (and disappears!) to be an island on one of Titan’s frigid lakes.

Was a Natural Fuel Cell Key to the Origin of Life on Earth?

July 01, 2014 • 28:50

There’s so much we don’t know about the origin of life here or anywhere else in the universe. But there must have been an energy source. Researcher Laurie Barge led work that simulated the natural formation of a fuel cell that may have taken place in Earth’s primordial oceans.

Elisa Quintana on the Discovery of Earth 2.0

June 24, 2014 • 28:50

Kepler-186f is the very first exoplanet that is both the size of our own world and in the habitable zone surrounding its star. SETI Institute scientist Elisa Quintana is lead author of the paper announcing its existence.

Pathways To Exploration: John Logsdon Analyzes the Human Spaceflight Report

June 17, 2014 • 35:42

The National Research Council released its long-awaited report June 4th. Distinguished space policy analyst John Logsdon returns to Planetary Radio with his take on this latest attempt to determine the proper role of humans in space.

Astronomers Without Borders: Spreading the Wonder Worldwide

June 10, 2014 • 28:50

Astronomers Without Borders Founder and President Mike Simmons and his colleagues share the passion, beauty and joy of the night sky from Argentina to Zambia.

A Starlight Festival Cassini Mission Update

June 03, 2014 • 42:38

Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker joins us at the first Starlight Festival in Big Bear Lake, California, and festival MC Andre Bormanis makes a bonus appearance on the show.

At Spacefest VI With Apollo Astronaut Gene Cernan and a Host of Proud Space Geeks

May 27, 2014 • 34:47

Planetary Radio visited Spacefest in Pasadena to talk with planetary scientist and space artist Dan Durda, Marc Rayman of the Dawn asteroid mission, and a guy who calls himself the Space Cowboy. We also eavesdrop on Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan and his lifelong fan, Griffith Observatory Curator Laura Danly.

Living and Working on Mars—A Conversation at the International Space Development Conference

May 20, 2014 • 56:44

Planetary Radio visits the 33rd ISDC to talk with three explorers who’ve set their sights on the Red Planet: MD and space medicine researcher Susan Jewell, Meteorite Man Geoff Notkin, and Mars Program Formulation Office Manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Charles Whetsel.

Spinoff 2013: Bringing Space Technology Home

May 13, 2014 • 32:43

NASA has just published "Spinoff 2013," the latest of its annual reports on outstanding innovations developed for space that are solving problems and improving lives here on Earth. Technology Transfer Program Executive Daniel Lockney is our guest.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

May 06, 2014 • 39:55

The host of COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey, returns to our show with a behind the scenes look at the spectacular television series.

Planetary Radio Live at the USA Science and Engineering Festival with Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs

April 29, 2014 • 52:29

Join us at the world’s biggest public science event in Washington DC, where we talk about dirty jobs in space with television’s terrific Mike Rowe.

A Second Earth, and OSIRIS REx is Go for Asteroid Bennu

April 22, 2014 • 28:50

Finally found: an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone. You’ll hear lead scientist Elisa Quintana make the announcement. Then OSIRIS REx mission Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta will tell us how the spacecraft will return a sample of material from the birth of the solar system.

Microbes in Orbit: Cheryl Nickerson’s Revealing Biomedical Research

April 08, 2014 • 42:43

You may have heard that the sometimes deadly Salmonella bacterium becomes stronger in microgravity. Cheryl Nickerson tell us about this and other results her team has conducted in low Earth orbit.

Rocketing Into the Aurora With Neal Brown

April 01, 2014 • 28:50

It’s back to Alaska, this time to the Poker Flat Research Range, where former Director Neal Brown and his staff launched sounding rockets into the heart of the Aurora Borealis. Emily Lakdawalla explores newly-discovered and very distant dwarf planets, and Bill Nye the Science guy has the latest on NASA’s planetary science budget.

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