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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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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.

Space, SETI, the Singularity and Shostak

February 07, 2018 • 59:04

Where is everybody? That was the question physicist Enrico Fermi asked when he wondered why we hadn’t yet met ET. What will happen if we do? Will humans lose the will to explore?

Space Policy Edition #21: Bill Nye and the State of the Union

February 02, 2018 • 30:28

Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye attended the State of the Union address on January 30th, he also spent the day meeting with sixteen different members of Congress to promote science on Capitol Hill. In this special abbreviated show, Casey Dreier and Mat Kaplan welcome their colleague Matt Renninger, who joined Bill on Capitol Hill, to discuss the goals of The Planetary Society and the reasons why it was important for Bill to attend.

Going to Sea to Sail Through Space: Orion Ocean Recovery Testing

January 31, 2018 • 38:30

Join Mat Kaplan on a visit to Naval Base San Diego and the USS Anchorage, the amphibious ship that has just completed a round of Orion spacecraft recovery testing and practice.

Living in Space!

January 24, 2018 • 37:55

Mat Kaplan talks with participants in the National Space Society’s recent Space Settlement Summit about human destiny in space.

It’s a Hard Rain on Titan

January 17, 2018 • 43:41

A computer model based on our best data about Saturn’s cloud-shrouded moon says that torrential liquid methane pounds the surface far more frequently than previously expected. Sean Faulk and Jonathan Mitchell of UCLA explain.

Mysterious Tabby’s Star, With Tabby Herself

January 10, 2018 • 44:46

It may not host an alien “megastructure” but Tabby’s Star still guards many mysteries of science. Astronomer and astrophysicist Tabetha “Tabby” Boyajian leads the worldwide team that is revealing this strange light in the sky.

Space Policy Edition #20: Looking back on the year in space policy. Also, your questions!

January 05, 2018 • 63:48

It’s the space policy guys’ turn to look back at a year that saw great achievements in space. Were they matched by events in Washington DC?

Looking Back, Looking Forward with the Planetary Society All-Stars

January 03, 2018 • 1:18:51

Mat’s first-ever four-way conversation with Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla reviews the biggest 2017 events in space exploration and provides their predictions of what to look for in the new year.

Flowing Water on Mars? Not So Much

December 27, 2017 • 30:58

Mars scientists dubbed them recurring slope lineae or RSLs. They sure looked like evidence of liquid water flowing down hillsides and ridges on the Red Planet. New research led by USGS Planetary Geologist Colin Dundas says otherwise.

Exploring the Latest Planetary Science Discoveries With Emily Lakdawalla

December 20, 2017 • 37:56

A holiday edition of Planetary Radio welcomes the Planetary Society’s Senior Editor back from the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Emily reports on amazing developments in planetary science she discovered at the huge conference.

President Trump Sets Course for the Moon

December 13, 2017 • 31:52

On December 11th President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that firmly points the US space effort toward the Moon, but without providing many details. Planetary Society Director of Space Policy Casey Dreier fills in some of the gaps left by this executive directive.

A Visitor From the Stars: ‘Oumuamua

December 06, 2017 • 47:23

The first confirmed interstellar visitor to our solar system is a needle-shaped asteroid given the Hawaiian name ‘Oumuamua. Karen Meech leads the team that is learning as much about it as possible before it leaves our neighborhood, never to return.

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