Planetary Radio • Feb 22, 2017

Planetary Radio Live: Near Earth Objects—The Killer Asteroid Threat

Please accept marketing-cookies to listen to this podcast.

Download MP3

On This Episode

Bruce betts portrait hq library

Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society

Paul chodas portrait

Paul Chodas

Manager, NASA NEO Program Office for Jet Propulsion Laboratory

20180710 Lindleyat Helm

Lindley Johnson

Planetary Defense Officer for NASA

20131231 amy mainzer

Amy Mainzer

Professor in the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona, Principal Investigator for the NEOWISE mission, and leads the NEO Surveyor project

Leaders of the quest to find, understand and protect ourselves from the asteroids and comets called Near Earth Objects gathered with host Mat Kaplan for a live conversation about this existential threat from space. This special episode presents excerpts of that lively discussion with JPL Senior Research Scientist Amy Mainzer, Manager of NASA/JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies Paul Chodas, and NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson. Also on stage was Planetary Society Director of Science and Technology Bruce Betts. Bruce stayed for this week’s What’s Up segment.

NEOWISE Artist's concept of the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) space telescope in Earth orbit.Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Radar movie of Comet 45PHMP created by the Arecibo Observatory
Radar movie of Comet 45PHMP created by the Arecibo Observatory Image: Arecibo Observatory
Planetary Radio Live—Incoming!
Planetary Radio Live—Incoming! Image: Geovanni Somoza

Related Links:

This week's prizes are a Planetary Radio t-shirt, now available in both men’s and women’s styles. Also, a 200-point astronomy account, and a Planetary Society rubber asteroid.

This week's question:

Where in the solar system would you find a crater named Valentine, after Saint Valentine?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, March 1st at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Name the person who is not from the Soviet Union, Russia or the United States who has spent the most time in space.


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What was the first star to be photographed besides the Sun? It has been used to define zero magnitude on the stellar brightness scale.


Vega was the first star other than the sun to be photographed. It happened in 1850.