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Planetary Radio Program Archives

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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Latest Planetary Radio Appearance

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.

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.

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