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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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The MILO Institute: Opening the Solar System for Exploration by All

January 15, 2020 • 59:45

Planetary Scientist Jim Bell and space entrepreneur Lon Levin are founders of a new non-profit that aims to make robotic space exploration much more achievable by institutions around the world.

Space Policy Edition: Houston, We Have a Space Force (with Brian Weeden)

January 10, 2020 • 1:08:10

Legislation signed by President Trump in December formally established the 6th branch of the U.S. armed services, the first such expansion in 72 years. What exactly will the new Space Force do?

In the Clean Room With the Mars 2020 Rover

January 08, 2020 • 47:33

Host Mat Kaplan and Planetary Society solar system specialist Emily Lakdawalla go inside NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory clean room to see the Mars 2020 rover.

Planetary Society All-Stars Look Back at 2019 and Ahead to 2020

January 01, 2020 • 1:17:08

Planetary Society experts Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla join host Mat Kaplan to recap the big space moments of 2019 and explore what's ahead in 2020.

What’s Next for Mars Exploration?

December 25, 2019 • 46:54

Planetary Society board member and Caltech/JPL research scientist Bethany Ehlmann discusses how the Mars 2020 mission will search for life on the Red Planet.

Meet the Planetary Society’s Newest Asteroid Hunters

December 18, 2019 • 38:51

We talk with two of our 2019 Shoemaker NEO Grant winners, who received funding to help find, track, and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids.

The Creators of The Expanse

December 11, 2019 • 1:04:55

Get ready for season 4 of The Expanse with Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who write the books and co-produce the shows under the name James S. A. Corey.

Space Policy Edition: The Biggest Policy Moments of the Decade (with Marcia Smith)

December 06, 2019 • 1L37:01

As the 2010s come to a close, Marcia Smith, the founder of Space Policy Online, rejoins the show to explore the most significant and impactful space policy decisions of the 2010s.

A Toast to Alcohol in Space

December 04, 2019 • 46:16

Chris Carberry traces the history and future of alcohol in space through his new book.

Seeking the Killer Space App with Space Tango

November 27, 2019 • 51:02

Organizations are using the microgravity environment of the International Space Station to develop unique new products. One of them is Kentucky-based Space Tango. We’ll meet its chairman and co-founder and the woman who manages its Tangolab.

Space Books and Gifts for Space Kids of all Ages

November 20, 2019 • 49:32

Looking for the perfect space book or gift for your favorite space fans? We’ve got the lists.

A Spirited Conversation with Carolyn Porco

November 13, 2019 • 1:27:40

A fun conversation with the leader of the Cassini imaging team, and an audio tour of the transit of Mercury with astronomer Jay Pasachoff.

Exploring Venus, Earth's Mysterious Sister Planet

November 06, 2019 • 49:53

Astrophysicist Javier Peralta, a team member on Japan's Akatsuki mission, takes us deep into Venus's thick, fast-moving clouds.

Space Policy Edition: How a Report Can Move Mountains

November 01, 2019 • 1:30:27

How can a simple report—just words on a page—lead to creation of a spacecraft? We explore how a 2019 report on the need for a dedicated, space-based telescope to find threatening near-Earth asteroids motivated NASA to pursue that very mission.

Finding Wonder and Meaning in a Book by Carl Sagan’s Daughter

October 30, 2019 • 50:37

Mat Kaplan talks with Sasha Sagan about For Small Creatures Such as We, and later joins Bruce Betts to offer the book in the new What’s Up space trivia contest.

How Long Was Mars Wet?

October 23, 2019 • 28:50

The way minerals form in different Earth environments may hold the answer.

How to Defend Your Planet

October 02, 2019 • 45:15

Planetary scientist Vishnu Reddy studies space objects ranging from satellite debris to planet-killing asteroids. He shares the status of our effort to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs in a conversation with host Mat Kaplan. Did you know fruit flies were first in space? That’s just one of the random space facts you’ll absorb in this week’s What’s Up segment with Bruce.

Ad Astra: The Movie!

September 25, 2019 • 45:15

Brad Pitt sets out across the solar system to save Earth in the new space epic. Host Mat Kaplan enjoys a far-reaching conversation with co-screenwriter of Ad Astra that touches on the film’s meaning, the mythic journey of its protagonist, its spectacular images, and where it strays from known science. Registration for the Planetary Society’s 2020 Day of Action in Washington DC is open! Chief Advocate Casey Dreier has the lowdown. You might win a beautiful, rotating MOVA Earth globe in this week’s What’s Up space trivia contest. Hey! That’s LightSail 2 floating above our pale blue dot.

How to Build a Starship: The 2019 Starship Congress

September 18, 2019 • 45:15

The biannual Starship Congress attracts starry-eyed believers in humankind’s destiny among the stars. We talk with several of them about their ideas for technologies and science that may help pave the way. Science fiction author David Brin dropped by the Congress and spends a few fun and speculative minutes with us. The September Equinox edition of The Planetary Report is ready for all to read. Editor Emily Lakdawalla gives us a sneak peek. The Milky Way has at least 54 satellite galaxies? Who knew? Bruce Betts, that’s who.

The Unexpected Space Center: Los Alamos National Laboratory

September 11, 2019 • 45:15

This US research center has been part of more than 200 space missions, but it’s not a NASA facility! The Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico gave the Voyager spacecraft their power sources, is building nuclear generators for future Martians, and accidentally invented the field of High Energy Astrophysics.

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