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Planetary RadioJanuary 12, 2016

Master of the Moon Rocks: NASA Astromaterials Curator Francis McCubbin

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On This Episode
Francis McCubbin head shot
Francis McCubbin

Astromaterials Curator, NASA Johnson Space Center

Francis McCubbin is the new Astromaterials Curator at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the priceless collection includes the Apollo moonrocks. Join host Mat Kaplan's visit. Emily Lakdawalla reports on Curiosity’s busy and beautiful Mars trek. Bill Nye remembers David Bowie and remarks on the role of space in popular entertainment. Mat and Bruce learn on What’s Up that beer was invented just one year ago. One Sednan year.

Mat Kaplan and Francis McCubbin at the NASA JSC Astromaterials Office

Mat Kaplan

Mat Kaplan and Francis McCubbin at the NASA JSC Astromaterials Office
Samples at the NASA JSC Astromaterials Office

Mat Kaplan

Samples at the NASA JSC Astromaterials Office

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Trivia Contest

This week's prizes are a lovely Planetary Radio t-shirt, a 200-point astronomy account AND a set of Year In Space wall and desk calendars.

This week's question:

What and when was the first spacecraft flyby of a comet?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Tuesday, January 19th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Hydrogen and helium are the most abundant elements in the Milky Way galaxy. What comes in a distant third by mass fraction?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What is the orbital period (length of a year) for Sedna, the far distant object in a highly-elliptical orbit?


One year on distant Sedna lasts about 11,400 Earth years.

Listen more: trans-neptunian objects, meteorites, Planetary Radio, the Moon, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), Bill Nye

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