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Planetary RadioJune 7, 2016

Chris McKay, Larry Niven and Andy Weir at the Contact Conference

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On This Episode
Chris McKay head shot
Chris McKay

Senior Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center

Larry Niven head shot
Larry Niven

Science Fiction Writer

Andy Weir head shot
Andy Weir

Writer, Author of “The Martian”

Space art and science fiction joined science fact at the 2016 Contact Conference in Sunnyvale, California. We talk with three well-known visionaries. Emily Lakdawalla tells us what to expect in planetary science this month. Bill Nye discusses independent plans by SpaceX and Lockheed Martin for getting humans to Mars in the 2020s. Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan are just wild about Mars and Jupiter.

Fact and fiction Contact Conference all-stars

Mat Kaplan

Fact and fiction Contact Conference all-stars
Left to right: Carol Stoker, Michael Sims, Kim Stanley Robinson, Andy Weir, Penny Boston, Chris McKay and Larry Niven.

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Trivia Contest

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

This week's question:

How many NASA field centers are named after former astronauts?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Tuesday, June 14th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

During the current closest approach, how big is the disc of Mars as seen from Earth as measured in arc-seconds?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

As seen from above Jupiter north pole, does the Great Red Spot travel clockwise or counterclockwise?


As seen from above Jupiter’s north pole (if that were possible) the Great Red Spot moves counterclockwise.

Listen more: Commercial spaceflight, New Horizons, Rosetta and Philae, Humans to Mars, mission status, Planetary Radio, MAVEN, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), conference report, Bill Nye

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