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Planetary RadioApril 5, 2016

Michel Mayor, Discoverer of the First Extrasolar World

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Michel Mayor head shot
Michel Mayor

Professor Emeritus, University of Geneva and 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics Co-recipient

Michel Mayor and his team rocked the astronomy world with their 1995 announcement, but this modest man says it was a discovery whose time had come. Emily Lakdawalla returns to mysterious dwarf planet Ceres. Seen the latest Blue Origin launch and landing? Bill Nye has. Which acronym for Laika the space dog’s name will be best in show?

51 Pegasi b

ESO / M. Kornmesser / Nick Risinger (

51 Pegasi b
Artist’s impression of 51 Pegasi b, the first extrasolar planet discovered around a Sun-like star. It is a prototypical hot Jupiter, with an orbit that takes only 4 days to complete.

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Trivia Contest

This week's grand prizes are a lovely Planetary Radio t-shirt, a 200-point astronomy account, and a Planetary Society rubber asteroid!

This week's question:

Who was the first person to vomit in space?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Tuesday, April 12th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What was the first spacecraft to orbit the moon?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

We want to honor Laika the dog by turning her name into a space acronym. What should LAIKA stand for? It could be a spacecraft, an instrument, a type of planetary name it. Winners will be picked based on evaluation of your entry’s creativity, humor or both.


The winning LAIKA acronym: Lifetime Achievement for International K9 Astronauts
(Thanks to all who submitted terrific entries!)

Listen more: Commercial spaceflight, asteroids, Planetary Radio, Dawn, extrasolar planets, Mars, asteroid 1 Ceres, conference report

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