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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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A Sacred Place: The National Air and Space Museum with Ellen Stofan

May 30, 2018 • 35:00

Planetary geologist Ellen Stofan has just become Director of the most popular museum in the United States. The NASM protects and shares the greatest collection of space and aviation treasures on Earth.

Chasing New Horizons to Pluto with Alan Stern and David Grinspoon

May 23, 2018 • 54:41

The New Horizons mission was a triumph, revealing Pluto as an utterly unique and beautiful world. But the mission first had to survive challenge after challenge, fighting to be developed, meeting a nearly impossible launch deadline, and then narrowly avoiding disaster when it was barely a week from its destination.

Why Mars? We’ve Got the Answers

May 16, 2018 • 38:54

The great adventure awaits! Mat Kaplan hosts an entertaining panel discussion at the 2018 Humans to Mars Summit in Washington DC. Eight guests provide their diverse and inspiring reasons for humans to visit the Red Planet.

Amy Mainzer: Asteroid Hunter

May 09, 2018 • 36:21

After taking over 10 million images of more than 30,000 solar system objects, the NEOWISE mission is finally in its last months. Principal Investigator Amy Mainzer returns with an update on this phenomenal success and a look ahead toward a much more powerful asteroid and comet hunter called NEOCam.

Space Policy Edition: A Commercial Future for the Space Station?

May 04, 2018 • 1:03:03

After announcing it intends to divest from the International Space Station in 2025, NASA quietly released a new report on its transition plans, laying out a series of principles that will set the future of U.S. astronauts in low-Earth orbit. Can a private entity really take over the space station? Where did this idea come from anyway?

All Shook Up: The InSight Mission to Mars

May 02, 2018 • 1:21:50

No mission to Mars has done what InSight will do. The lander’s spectacularly sensitive instruments will use the Red Planet’s heat and marsquakes to reveal its deep interior while also revealing secrets of other rocky worlds like our own Earth.

Planetary Radio Live! – Celebrating Curiosity on Mars

April 25, 2018 • 1:35:21

Join us for an utterly fascinating live conversation with Emily Lakdawalla about her brand new book, The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job. Also joining us at Caltech were Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada and JPL Research Scientist Abigail Fraeman.

Yuri’s Night 2018!

April 18, 2018 • 54:38

Host Mat Kaplan once again attends the worldwide party for space. Join him at the Los Angeles celebration under Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Visiting the Earth-Like Worlds of TRAPPIST-1

April 11, 2018 • 31:23

We have begun to understand the composition of worlds that are hundreds of trillions of kilometers from Earth. Astronomer Nikole Lewis is co-leader of a team that has used the Hubble Space Telescope to do this with the four Earth-like planets circling a star called TRAPPIST-1.

Space Policy Edition: Lori Garver on what a NASA Administrator (and Deputy) actually does

April 06, 2018 • 1:17:07

Lori Garver, former Deputy Administrator of NASA, talks with Casey about what the Deputy and Administrator jobs are like day-to-day, how decisions actually get made at the top, and why the current lack of confirmed leadership hurts the space agency.

AI, Space, and Humanity’s Future—A Conversation with David Brin

April 04, 2018 • 1:08:03

The multi-award winning science fiction author, futurist and speaker returns to Planetary Radio for a wide-ranging conversation about robots and humans in space, empathetic artificial intelligences, how we can survive the Singularity and much more.

A Space Station Crashes to Earth

March 28, 2018 • 50:01

By the time you hear this week’s episode, China’s Tiangong-1 may have spectacularly re-entered our planet’s atmosphere, raining metal on an unpredictable location.

Stephen Hawking: Spaceflight Pioneer!

March 21, 2018 • 39:06

He is known for his breakthrough physics and popularizing of science, but Dr. Hawking also wanted to fly in space. Erik Viirre led the medical team that helped Stephen experience weightlessness.

Amateur Astronomers Work To Save Earth From Asteroids!

March 14, 2018 • 36:35

Seven astronomers have been selected to receive Shoemaker NEO (Near Earth Object) grants from the Planetary Society. They and their observatories span the planet. We’ll meet an American and an Australian. Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts provides an overview of the grant program and later returns for this week’s edition of What’s Up. The Planetary Society’s Kate Howells reports on the outlook for space funding in Canada’s newly-released federal budget. She and Society CEO Bill Nye also met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Visiting the Birthplace of PlanetVac

March 07, 2018 • 44:54

Space is hard. Sample collection and return is harder still. That’s why the radically-simplified PlanetVac system from Honeybee Robotics is so intriguing.

Space Policy Edition #23 - Blitzing Congress: Planetary Society volunteers visit Capitol Hill

March 02, 2018 • 35:33

Society members from 21 states descended on the U.S. capitol for a "blitz" of 178 meetings in two days. Casey and special guest Matt Renninger explain why that is such an important activity, and blitzers Leah and Stefanie Griffith share their story of coming to Washington to speak for space.

Experience A Message From Earth - Inspired by the Voyager Golden Record

February 28, 2018 • 49:04

It has been 40 years since Carl Sagan and others shared the best of humanity with the stars. A new online multimedia project has been created as a 21st century homage to the Golden Record.

The Eyes of a New Mars Rover: Mastcam-Z

February 21, 2018 • 49:31

Mat Kaplan attended a meeting of the science team for the zoom lens camera that will be atop the Mars 2020 rover mast. Planetary Scientist Jim Bell tells us how this new system will show us the Red Planet as we’ve never seen it before.

Space Policy Edition Special: The 2019 President’s Budget Request Unveiled

February 16, 2018 • 53:12

As promised, Casey Dreier and Jason Callahan are back with a special review of the just-released FY 2019 President’s Budget Request (PBR) for NASA. It contains good news, bad news and odd news. What is likely to stand? What will Congress ignore, going its own way? NASA’s new lunar ambitions, Mars Sample Return, WFIRST and more hang in the balance. Let the debate begin.

A New Congressional Caucus Backs Planetary Science

February 14, 2018 • 41:58

Republican Randy Hultgren and Democrat Derek Kilmer celebrate formation of the new bipartisan, bicameral caucus of US representatives and senators. They have united behind exploration of our and other solar systems. Bill Nye shares his eye and ear witness account of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch and landing. The new What’s Up space trivia contest takes its inspiration from the Tesla Roadster now on its way to Mars.

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