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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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Verified: More Than 700 New Worlds

March 04, 2014 • 28:50

SETI Institute researcher and member of the Kepler team Jason Rowe helps us dig into the latest big announcement about hundreds of planets in solar systems like our own.

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.

Getting Humans to Mars Without Breaking the Bank

February 18, 2014 • 28:50

NASA scientist Harley Thronson tells us about a new initiative that is figuring out how we will get men and women to the red planet at a reasonable price. You can read their initial report. Emily Lakdawalla reports on Curiosity’s passage over dunes that made engineers nervous. Bill Nye reveals NASA’s plans for a lunar rover that may launch in 2018. Mat Kaplan joins Bruce Betts in a TV studio to record this week’s What’s Up segment. You can watch!

Surprising Budget News for Planetary Exploration

February 11, 2014 • 28:50

Good news, for a change! Congress decided to provide $127 million more for planetary science than was requested by the President. Bill Adkins of Adkins Strategies in Washington and the Society’s Director of Advocacy, Casey Dreier say a battle has been won, but the war for science continues. Emily Lakdawalla helps us understand how an eye in the Martian sky helps track Curiosity on the surface. Bill Nye addresses the mastodon in the room, and there’s a new and cool prize for the winner of the What’s Up space trivia contest.

Back to Planetary Radio Live With the Mars Rovers

February 04, 2014 • 38:52

Our celebration of the Mars rovers continues from Southern California Public Radio’s Crawford Family Forum, this week featuring planetary scientist and author Jim Bell, Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger, JPL Mars Engineering Manager Rob Manning and Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye. Emily takes us to Curiosity’s latest find on the red planet, and Bruce Betts joins Mat to gaze at the night sky and give away ISS-Above, the little device that tells you when the International Space Station is overhead.

Planetary Radio Live Celebrates the Mars Rovers

January 28, 2014 • 28:50

Opportunity has been rolling across Mars for 10 years! We celebrate the Mars Exploration Rovers and their sisters on the red planet at Planetary Radio Live, this week featuring MER Principal Investigator Steve Squyres. Emily Lakdawalla and Bill Nye join Mat in front of a capacity crowd at Southern California Public Radio’s Crawford Family Forum. Bruce Betts closes the show with a live Random Space Fact and rover trivia contest.

From Earth to the Edge of the Universe: A New Edition of “The Cosmos”

January 21, 2014 • 30:50

Astronomers Jay Pasachoff and Alex Filippenko join us for a conversation about their newest version of their monumental textbook, "The Cosmos." Emily Lakdawalla helps us say good morning to the just-awakened Rosetta spacecraft, while Bill Nye is fascinated and puzzled by what looks like a jelly doughnut on the Martian surface.

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.

10 Years A Roving: A.J.S. Rayl on the Mars Exploration Rovers

December 23, 2013 • 53:17

What a long, wonderful trip it has been for Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rovers. Planetary Society reporter A.J.S. Rayl has been writing about their adventure every month for ten years. She looks back on this week’s show.

A Big Week for Space Science at the AGU and Beyond

December 16, 2013 • 28:50

The annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union revealed lots of science, some of it astounding. Emily Lakdawalla was there with Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator Casey Dreier, whose news was not quite as good.

Celebrating the Admiral of the Solar System

December 02, 2013 • 29:30

The life of explorer and teacher Dr. Bruce Murray was celebrated last November 10th at Caltech. This week we present a few excerpts from the tributes paid to the former JPL Director and co-founder of the Planetary Society.

Planetary Radio Live Celebrates the Launch of MAVEN

November 18, 2013 • 28:50

The successful launch of MAVEN was covered by Mat Kaplan, Bruce Betts and Emily Lakdawalla, with special, launch site reports from Jim Bell and Bill Nye.

SpaceUp LA: What would you do with $13 Billion?

November 11, 2013 • 32:32

What would YOU do with an extra $10 Billion for space exploration and development? That’s what Mat Kaplan asked the passionate space enthusiasts at the 2013 SpaceUp LA Unconference.

It's Hot! Plutonium 238 is Back

October 28, 2013 • 32:08

Casey Dreier tells the winding tale of Plutonium 238, the radioactive isotope that is vital for exploration of the solar system. The US came dangerously close to exhausting its supply. Even with production restarted, there are major challenges facing explorers.

The New Horizons Initiative

October 07, 2013 • 28:50

Carl Sagan’s longtime artistic collaborator, Jon Lomberg, designed the cover for the Voyager Interstellar Record. Now he wants to upload another message from Earth to New Horizons, the spacecraft on its way to Pluto.

MAVEN Mars Mission's Bruce Jakosky

September 16, 2013 • 28:50

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) orbiter leaves for the red planet in November of 2013. Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado Boulder is its Principal Investigator. Mat Kaplan sat down with Bruce at a recent MAVEN workshop.

Bleeding Edge--NIAC Chooses 12 New Out There Projects

August 12, 2013 • 31:25

They might be happy if one in ten of the projects they fund makes it in the real world…because that project just might change the world. We talk with Jay Falker, Program Executive for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program about 12 crazy and not so crazy ideas that have just received early seed funding.

Landing On Mars With JPL's Matt Golombek

June 17, 2013 • 38:05

Join us at JPL for a conversation with Mars landing site selection leader Matt Golombek. Matt is also now Project Scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover program, and shares the great news from Opportunity about its latest discovery. Emily Lakdawalla presents a guest blog entry that features splendid images from Mars Express, while Bill Nye traces the convoluted ways of space science funding in Washington. Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan are at a legendary Pasadena eatery for this week’s What’s Up. Cosmic hot dog, anyone?

Drill Baby Drill! On Mars

March 11, 2013 • 28:50

With the first use of its drill and delivery of samples to its internal instruments, Curiosity is now a fully-functioning science station on Mars. JPL Sampling System Scientist Luther Beegle provides an update.

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Beginning a New Year In Space

December 31, 2012 • 28:50

Planetary Society experts review the challenges and triumphs of 2012 and look forward to a new and exciting year. You’ll hear Bill Nye the Science Guy, Emily Lakdawalla on new missions, Casey Dreier on “Saving our Science,” and Bruce Betts’ review of great projects, as well as a musical rendition of “Random Space Fact.”

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