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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 Coming Descent to Asteroid Bennu

January 22, 2020 • 1:02:35

OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta takes us to mysterious asteroid Bennu where a first sample collection site has been selected.

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.

Space Innovations So Incredible, They Just Might Work

October 16, 2019 • 1:17:58

Mat Kaplan reports from the 2019 NIAC Symposium, a showcase of NASA-funded technologies hoping to revolutionize space exploration.

Space Policy Edition: Happy Fiscal New Year!

October 11, 2019 • 56:35

October 1st kicked off federal fiscal year 2020—a day that should also have kicked off a new budget for NASA. But Congress has not funded the space agency yet, instead passing a temporary stopgap measure to keep the government open until November 21st. Brendan Curry, The Planetary Society's Chief of D.C. Operations, joins the show to discuss the latest political developments in Washington, good news for planetary defense, and how the funding delay could spell trouble for the space agency's 2024 lunar goal.

Nobel Prize Winner Michel Mayor…and More

October 09, 2019 • 47:08

Astronomer and astrophysicist Michel Mayor has just been awarded the 2019 Nobel prize for physics. Listen to Mat’s 2016 conversation with this revered scientist, the first to discover an exoplanet. The Beresheet mission’s Yoav Landsman recently visited Planetary Society HQ and spent a few minutes catching up with Mat. And Society Editorial Director Jason Davis introduces The Downlink, our weekly digest of planetary news. Bruce Betts takes us to a moon of Uranus to find the melancholy Dane.

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