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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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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."

Space Policy Edition #9 – Congress Plots New Space Legislation Amid Trump’s Tumultuous First Two Weeks

February 06, 2017 • 48:33

It’s still too early to say where the Trump Administration will take NASA, but there are a few hints. Congress is not waiting. Casey, Jason and Mat review a draft of the space agency’s authorization bill and a separate act that asks NASA to lay out its plans for humans to reach Mars.

The Final Countdown at Saturn

January 31, 2017 • 46:17

Planetary Radio’s most frequent guest, Project Scientist Linda Spilker, returns with another update on the Cassini mission that is approaching its grand finale.

Leading the Search: Bill Diamond of the SETI Institute

November 29, 2016 • 31:44

The SETI Institute is about much more than the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. President and CEO Bill Diamond of the Institute explains.

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.

Trekkin’ Across the Universe With Andrew Fazekas

October 11, 2016 • 46:06

The Night Sky Guy, Andrew Fazekas, talks about his beautiful new, Star Trek-inspired guide to the real wonders of astronomy.

Space Policy Edition #5: The U.S. Senate takes on the politics of Mars

October 07, 2016 • 1:03:18

We take a deep dive into new space legislation working its way through the US Senate. It embraces Mars and NASA's big rocket. But Elon Musk and SpaceX just announced an ambitious new plan to colonize Mars. Does this upset the political establishment? Or will they find a cold reception in the halls of Congress? Also, where does science fit into the politics of space?

Farewell Rosetta!

October 04, 2016 • 30:38

The European Space Agency’s magnificent Rosetta mission ended last week as the spacecraft gently touched down on the comet it has revealed.

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.

Chris McKay, Larry Niven and Andy Weir at the Contact Conference

June 07, 2016 • 32:32

Space art and science fiction joined science fact at the 2016 Contact Conference in Sunnyvale, California. We talk with three well-known visionaries.

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.

Orion Launches Into History

December 09, 2014 • 28:50

NASA’s Orion spacecraft has taken its first step toward Mars and an asteroid mission. The Planetary Society’s Jason Davis was at the Kennedy Space Center for the December 5 mission.

Kip Thorne and the Science of Interstellar

December 02, 2014 • 28:50

Spoiler alert. Famed physicist Kip Thorne says you might be able to survive a plunge into a black hole after all! That’s just one molecule of the fascinating science behind the science fiction film he helped create. We’ll talk about the movie and Kip’s new book, “The Science of Interstellar.”

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