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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.

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.

Ancient Water Was Here Before the Sun

October 21, 2014 • 28:50

Ilse Cleeves is lead author of a paper that concludes up to half of our solar system’s water is older than the solar system itself. The implications for life across the galaxy are profound.

Yale’s Debra Fischer and the Ever More Precise Search for New Worlds

October 14, 2014 • 28:50

It’s terribly hard to find exoplanets that look like our homeworld. The search requires development of astoundingly powerful and precise instruments. That’s the job Debra Fischer and her team have taken on.

Planetary Radio Live! We See Thee Rise: The Canadian Space Program

October 07, 2014 • 28:50

We welcomed 1,600 Canadian space enthusiasts to the University of Toronto for our October 1st celebration of Canada in space! Join Mat Kaplan and Bill Nye with their guests, Canadian space writer Elizabeth Howell, University of Western Ontario planetary scientist Gordon “Oz” Osinski, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen. Bruce Betts appeared via Skype to lead a rousing Random Space Fact cheer on What’s Up.

A Conversation With Congressman Lamar Smith

September 30, 2014 • 28:50

The Chairman of the powerful Science, Space and Technology Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives joins us for a talk about planetary science, Europa, a human flyby of Mars and much more.

Planetary Radio Live: MAVEN Arrives at Mars!

September 23, 2014 • 28:50

The latest guest of the Red Planet arrived in orbit on the evening of September 22, 2014. Planetary Radio Live was watching with fingers crossed in Pasadena, California.

Dr. Bell Goes to Washington

September 16, 2014 • 28:50

Planetary Scientist Jim Bell of Arizona State University joined other experts in front of the US House of Representatives Space Committee on September 10th. Get his report this week.

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.

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.

Jay Barbree on “Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight”

July 29, 2014 • 39:51

In his 55 years as NBC’s space correspondent, Jay Barbree has won the respect and friendship of many astronauts. Neil Armstrong stands above them all. Now Jay has created this very personal chronicle about his friend, with help from Neil and many of the other pioneering spacefarers.

Keith Cowing and the ISEE-3 Rebooters

July 22, 2014 • 28:50

They have generated excitement, enthusiasm and support throughout the world. The ISEE-3 Reboot Project has succeeded in gaining control over the 36-year old spacecraft, but will they be able to move it?

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.

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