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.
6,000 job-seekers came to the new Long Beach, California home of Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne rocket on a recent morning. We sit down with CEO George Whitesides for a conversation about this new effort and the return of SpaceShipTwo.
Planetary scientist and author Jim Bell has just written “The Interstellar Age—Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission.” He talks with Mat Kaplan about the magnificent grand tour of the outer solar system that is now headed toward the stars.
It’s terribly hard to find exoplanets that look like our homeworld. The search requires development of astoundingly powerful and precise instruments. That’s the job Debra Fischer and her team have taken on.
Inspired by Star Trek, distinguished physicist Miguel Alcubierre developed the general relativity-based model for warp drive 20 years ago. Hear why he doubts it will ever be a reality, and learn about his current research on gravitational waves.
Planetary Radio visited Spacefest in Pasadena to talk with planetary scientist and space artist Dan Durda, Marc Rayman of the Dawn asteroid mission, and a guy who calls himself the Space Cowboy. We also eavesdrop on Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan and his lifelong fan, Griffith Observatory Curator Laura Danly.
Finally found: an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone. You’ll hear lead scientist Elisa Quintana make the announcement. Then OSIRIS REx mission Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta will tell us how the spacecraft will return a sample of material from the birth of the solar system.
Astronomers Jay Pasachoff and Alex Filippenko join us for a conversation about their newest version of their monumental textbook, "The Cosmos." Emily Lakdawalla helps us say good morning to the just-awakened Rosetta spacecraft, while Bill Nye is fascinated and puzzled by what looks like a jelly doughnut on the Martian surface.
Take a spacecraft that can no longer survey the realm of galaxies and repurpose it to discover thousands of much nearer asteroids and comets. Put it to sleep for 2.5 years, then wake it up and start discovering even more! JPL’s Amy Mainzer is Principal Investigator for NEOWISE, the mission using this amazing space telescope.
There’s a place to go when you find a space rock headed our way, or headed any which way. Tim Spahr directs the Minor Planet Center, the global clearinghouse for all information about asteroids, comets and other relatively small bodies like moons.
The director and cast of Star Trek: Into Darkness meet up with real space travelers. Also: Planetary science funding from NASA is in trouble, so a delegation led by Bill Nye the Science Guy descended on Washington DC last week to sound the alarm. Planetary Society Advocacy chief Casey Dreier provides a report, and comments on the Society’s support for NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval Mission.
The last installment of our Planetary Defense Conference coverage makes a deep impact as hundreds of attendees participate in an asteroid mitigation exercise. You’ll hear from astronauts Ed Lu and Rusty Schweikart, Near Earth Object expert Don Yeomans, Cathy Plesko of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and many more.