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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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LightSail Triumphant! A Mission Press Conference

June 16, 2015 • 28:50

After a roller coaster ride that included a maddening eight-day silence, the LightSail test mission finally achieved all of its major goals. Leaders of the mission team gathered on June 10th to take questions from the media, and share their thoughts and emotions with the general public. Today’s show presents highlights of that briefing. Emily Lakdawalla is seeing things on Pluto, and she’s not alone. Bruce Betts takes Mat Kaplan on a walk in space during this week’s What’s Up segment.

Spiraling Closer to Ceres With the Dawn Mission’s Marc Rayman

May 19, 2015 • 33:59

It’s the biggest dwarf planet between here and Pluto, and it has a new permanent resident. The Dawn spacecraft is orbiting Ceres in the asteroid belt, revealing it as never before. What are those bright spots anyway? We spend time with Dawn’s Chief Engineer and Director, Marc Rayman.

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.

Sean Solomon on the Climactic End of the MESSENGER Mission to Mercury

May 05, 2015 • 28:50

We open with the countdown to destruction—the MESSENGER spacecraft’s impact on Mercury ended its spectacularly successful mission. Principal Investigator Sean Solomon joins us immediately after this big finish.

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.

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.

Miguel Alcubierre, Inventor of Warp Drive?

September 09, 2014 • 28:50

Inspired by Star Trek, distinguished physicist Miguel Alcubierre developed the general relativity-based model for warp drive 20 years ago. Hear why he doubts it will ever be a reality, and learn about his current research on gravitational waves.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Europa Report--New Science Fiction Film Embraces the Science

July 29, 2013 • 28:50

If you’re willing to accept the premise, the thrilling new independent feature film presents one of the most scientifically and technically accurate tales ever put on screen. We’ll talk with the director and producer, and then ask science advisor Kevin Hand for a reality check.

Approaching Pluto, and Learning About Uwingu From Alan Stern

November 26, 2012 • 28:50

New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern returns with a Pluto mission update. He also introduces us to Uwingu.

Amazing Science at the 2012 DPS Meeting

October 22, 2012 • 28:50

The 44th Annual Meeting of the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences hosted hundreds of researchers and revealed volumes of scientific results. Join us at the conference.

Opportunity Reaches Endeavour, and Planetary Radio Wins an Award!

September 05, 2011 • 0:28:52

Opportunity reaches Endeavour Crater, Emily Lakdawalla visits a New Horizons science meeting about Pluto, Bill Nye discusses a planet made of diamond, and Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan celebrate the award of a Parsec award to Planetary Radio.

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