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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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Zibi Turtle and a Mission to the Ice Giants

September 22, 2015 • 28:50

They are the most neglected planets in our solar system, but that status may be changing. Planetary scientist Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle celebrates NASA’s announcement that it will study a mission to Uranus or Neptune.

The Right Site: Choosing A Landing Spot on Mars

August 25, 2015 • 33:33

The 2020 Mars Rover may be years away, but determining where it will land is already a hot topic among scientists and engineers. Many of the former gathered in early August for a site selection workshop. We talk with Co-Chair and Mars veteran Matt Golombek, JPL astrobiologist Lindsay Hays, and Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems.

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 Launch of LightSail

May 26, 2015 • 28:50

This special edition takes you behind the scenes on May 20, 2015 as LightSail is lifted into orbit. You’ll hear the thrilling launch, meet key team members as they prepare for the big moment, and hear a special status report from Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye.

Alan Stern and the Rise of Pluto

May 12, 2015 • 28:50

Humankind’s arrival at Pluto is barely two months away. The science and images have already started to flow from New Horizons, according to the mission’s Principal Investigator, Alan Stern. Alan returns to Planetary Radio this week.

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.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides on LauncherOne and the Return of SpaceShipTwo

March 10, 2015 • 28:50

6,000 job-seekers came to the new Long Beach, California home of Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne rocket on a recent morning. We sit down with CEO George Whitesides for a conversation about this new effort and the return of SpaceShipTwo.

Jonathan Goff Says Let’s Redirect an Asteroid

February 24, 2015 • 28:50

ARM is the Asteroid Redirect Mission, and sometimes it seems that it doesn’t have a friend in the world. But it does, and Jonathan Goff of Altius Space Machines is one.

LightSail Prepares to Take Flight

January 27, 2015 • 28:50

The Planetary Society has just announced that LightSail will be launched into orbit on its first test flight in May. We’ll talk with Project Manager Doug Stetson and embedded LightSail reporter Jason Davis about what to expect.

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.

2014: The Year in Space

December 30, 2014 • 28:50

Our annual review of the greatest events and accomplishments over the last year features analysis and commentary by Bill Nye the Science Guy, Emily Lakdawalla, Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Bruce Betts, along with a special new year’s gift of Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Where Did The Air Go? Bruce Jakosky on the MAVEN Mars Mission

December 23, 2014 • 28:50

Not just the air. Where is the water that was plentiful on the red planet billions of years ago? MAVEN may help answer these questions. Principal Investigator Bruce Jakosky reports on the early, exciting science data.

A MESSENGER From Mercury—Principal Investigator Sean Solomon Returns

October 28, 2014 • 28:50

MESSENGER has been orbiting the innermost planet for more than three-and-half-years. Principal Investigator Sean Solomon returns with a status report as the mission enters its final phase.

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.

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.

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.

Planetary Radio Live at Yuri’s Night—Under Space Shuttle Endeavour

April 15, 2014 • 31:53

Join the party as we celebrate the 53rd anniversary of humanity’s transition to spacefaring species with Yuri’s Night Executive Director Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, Virgin Galactic CEO and Yuri’s Night co-founder George Whitesides, and astronaut Ron Garan, who heads Fragile Oasis.

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.

Talking with JPL's Blaine Baggett and Ed Stone About "The Stuff of Dreams"

February 25, 2014 • 33:40

JPL’s Blaine Baggett and former JPL director Ed Stone talk “The Stuff of Dreams,” a documentary about an era in planetary exploration that was both exhilarating and exasperating. Emily Lakdawalla explains why Curiosity has joined the fraternity of backward driving rovers on Mars, and Bill Nye considers the not-too-distant future when airliners and spaceliners will share the sky.

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