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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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All-Sky Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

November 04, 2013 • 31:54

A burst of laser light could let humanity know it is not alone in the universe. Harvard’s Paul Horowitz and Curtis Mead will give us an update on the technological wonder of Optical SETI that watches the entire sky for billionth of a second pulses from the stars.

It's Hot! Plutonium 238 is Back

October 28, 2013 • 32:08

Casey Dreier tells the winding tale of Plutonium 238, the radioactive isotope that is vital for exploration of the solar system. The US came dangerously close to exhausting its supply. Even with production restarted, there are major challenges facing explorers.

Juno's Brief Home Visit on the Road to Jupiter

October 21, 2013 • 28:50

Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton reviews the spacecraft's Earth flyby and previews its long stay at our solar system's king of planets.

Emily Lakawalla's DPS Report

October 14, 2013 • 28:50

The Planetary Society’s Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist recaps this year’s revealing meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS).

The New Horizons Initiative

October 07, 2013 • 28:50

Carl Sagan’s longtime artistic collaborator, Jon Lomberg, designed the cover for the Voyager Interstellar Record. Now he wants to upload another message from Earth to New Horizons, the spacecraft on its way to Pluto.

Gregory and James Benford on the "Starship Century"

September 30, 2013 • 28:50

“Starship Century—Toward the Grandest Horizon” is the new collection of fact and fiction assembled by Gregory and James Benford. The brothers are among the leaders of a renaissance in research and thinking about interstellar travel. They have returned to Planetary Radio to talk about this story of human destiny among the stars.

Can We Touch the Stars? Lou Friedman at the 100-Year Starship Symposium

September 23, 2013 • 30:31

Only days after Voyager 1 reached interstellar space, forward thinkers met in Houston, Texas to consider how humans can become a starfaring species. Planetary Society Emeritus Executive Director Lou Friedman reports from the meeting.

MAVEN Mars Mission's Bruce Jakosky

September 16, 2013 • 28:50

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) orbiter leaves for the red planet in November of 2013. Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado Boulder is its Principal Investigator. Mat Kaplan sat down with Bruce at a recent MAVEN workshop.

PLANETARY RADIO LIVE: LADEE Launches for Luna

September 09, 2013 • 28:50

Planetary Radio returned to the Crawford Family Forum for live coverage of the LADEE launch on September 6th.

Remembering Bruce Murray

September 02, 2013 • 49:32

The passing of Planetary Society co-founder and former JPL Director Bruce Murray has been marked around the world. Planetary Radio takes its turn with this special tribute.

Taikonauts on the Moon? A Conversation With Leonard David

August 26, 2013 • 28:50

Leonard David has been writing about space exploration for more than five decades. Now he has turned his attention to China’s ambitious plans.

NASA's Charlie Bolden Visits Earth Missions at JPL

August 19, 2013 • 28:50

Two missions are coming together in a high bay clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. SMAP and ISS RapidScat went on display for a visit by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Mat Kaplan and Emily Lakdawalla provide special coverage.

Bleeding Edge--NIAC Chooses 12 New Out There Projects

August 12, 2013 • 31:25

They might be happy if one in ten of the projects they fund makes it in the real world…because that project just might change the world. We talk with Jay Falker, Program Executive for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program about 12 crazy and not so crazy ideas that have just received early seed funding.

The Ancient Snows of Mars

August 05, 2013 • 28:50

When she was learning to forecast the weather in Hawaii, Brown University grad student Kat Scanlon didn’t suspect it would help her uncover evidence for rain or, more likely, snow that helped shape the surface of Mars billions of years ago.

Europa Report--New Science Fiction Film Embraces the Science

July 29, 2013 • 28:50

If you’re willing to accept the premise, the thrilling new independent feature film presents one of the most scientifically and technically accurate tales ever put on screen. We’ll talk with the director and producer, and then ask science advisor Kevin Hand for a reality check.

JPL and England Wave at Saturn

July 22, 2013 • 28:50

Hundreds came out on the JPL mall on Friday, July 19th to salute the Cassini spacecraft as it captured a rare image of Earth from the outer solar system. Among them were the mission Deputy Project Scientist, Scott Edgington, and the Cassini Program Manager, Earl Maize.

Tim Spahr of the Minor Planet Center

July 08, 2013 • 28:50

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.

Water on the Moon!

July 01, 2013 • 28:50

Amanda Hendrix looks for and studies water in our solar system, where it has been found in surprising locales. Earth's moon, for instance. She talks about Luna’s ice and the weathering of its ancient surface.

A Cosmic Concert: Singer/Songwriter Peter Mayer on Planetary Radio Live

June 24, 2013 • 1:27:36

Join us at the intersection of science, nature, music and wonder for a very special Planetary Radio Live with the great Peter Mayer. Bill Nye is with host Mat Kaplan on stage in this unique episode, the longest we've ever presented. You'll hear eight of Pete's beautiful songs, including one that will be on his new CD.

Landing On Mars With JPL's Matt Golombek

June 17, 2013 • 38:05

Join us at JPL for a conversation with Mars landing site selection leader Matt Golombek. Matt is also now Project Scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover program, and shares the great news from Opportunity about its latest discovery. Emily Lakdawalla presents a guest blog entry that features splendid images from Mars Express, while Bill Nye traces the convoluted ways of space science funding in Washington. Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan are at a legendary Pasadena eatery for this week’s What’s Up. Cosmic hot dog, anyone?

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