The Planetary SocietyFeb 13, 2019

Planetary Radio: 10 Must-Listen Episodes About Space Exploration

The first episode of Planetary Radio was released in 2002. Our podcast and radio show has grown immensely since then. Host Mat Kaplan has interviewed hundreds of the greatest minds in the solar system, sharing their passion for space exploration and science. To introduce you to this vast catalog, our staff has assembled this Top 10 list of favorite episodes:

1. A Conversation with Sally Ride

12 April 2005

Twenty-two years after she became the first American woman in space, Sally Ride devoted herself to bringing the wonder of science to young people, and especially girls. In this episode from 2005, which was recorded seven years before Ride’s passing, she discusses Sally Ride Science and shares her thoughts on the Space Shuttle’s return to flight.

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2. Beyond Earth’s Edge: A Celebrity Space Poetry Jam!

14 October 2020

Space celebrities jumped at the chance to read selections from Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, a collection of poems inspired by our exploration of the solar system and the wonders of the cosmos. You’ll hear Bill Nye, author Sasha Sagan, New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, and astronauts Leland Melvin and Nicole Stott, among others.

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3. A Martian Birthday Party for Ray Bradbury

25 August 2003

Mat Kaplan converses with Ray Bradbury and many of his admirers during The Planetary Society's celebration of Ray’s 83rd birthday in 2003, seven years prior to his passing. The party included a trip to Mount Wilson, high above southern California, where telescopes were trained on Mars as it passed closer to Earth than it had in more than 60,000 years.

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4. A Conversation with Freeman Dyson

13 June 2018

There’s so much more to Freeman Dyson than the Dyson Sphere. The mathematician, physicist, futurist and author is one of the greatest and most original minds of our era. He has much to say to Mat Kaplan about the future of space exploration and humanity in this thought-provoking episode.

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5. A Visit With Sir Arthur C. Clarke

24 March 2003

One of the world's most famous authors and visionaries joins Mat from his home in Sri Lanka, just five years before his passing. In this wonderful episode, he discusses his latest novel, and what to watch for on the frontiers of science.

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6. Talking With Mary Roach, Author of Packing for Mars

16 August 2010

The author of Stiff says life in the void is hard but worth the trouble. Mary Roach joins Mat Kaplan to talk about her hilarious and very informative book that looks at the indignities and trials of space travel.

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7. New Mexico Cave Adventure With Penny Boston and the First International Planetary Caves Workshop

21 November 2011

Come on a unique tour of Carlsbad Caverns National Park where we make two descents with our guide and renowned cave scientist, Penny Boston. Penny led the First International Planetary Caves Workshop attendees, drawing comparisons between cave geology and what may be possible on worlds throughout our solar system.

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8. Celebrating Cassini… Live

27 September 2017

More than 1,100 fans of the completed 20-year mission to Saturn join us for a live tribute. Mat Kaplan and KPCC Science Reporter Jacob Margolis welcome mission leaders and The Society’s Emily Lakdawalla to Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium stage. You’ll also hear a musical tribute to Cassini’s Grand Finale.

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9. ALMA Adventure

19 March 2013

This episode follows Mat’s journey to Chile’s Atacama Desert, home to the ALMA Observatory, the radio telescope that is humanity’s most ambitious astronomy project. Join Mat among the giant dishes at 5,000 meters or 16,500 feet above sea level.

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LightSail Takes Flight!

3 July 2019

Planetary Radio was there for one of the most exciting days in the history of The Planetary Society. Relive the early morning launch of LightSail 2 atop a huge Falcon 9 rocket.  LightSail team members, including Bill Nye, joined thousands of thrilled observers at the Kennedy Space Center.

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Do you have a favorite Planetary Radio episode that we didn’t feature on this list? Please share it with us at [email protected]. And, thank you for making Planetary Radio, along with everything we do at The Planetary Society, possible.

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