Planetary Radio • May 17, 2017

NASA Leaders on Getting Humans to Mars

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On This Episode

20170517 William Gerstenmaier thumbnail

William Gerstenmaier

Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations for NASA

20160531 stephen jurczyk

Stephen Jurczyk

Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate for NASA

20170517 Thomas Zurbuchen thumbnail

Thomas Zurbuchen

Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate for NASA

The human journey to the Red Planet is long and hard, but Mat’s conversation with three NASA Associate Administrators at the Humans to Mars Summit was filled with cautious optimism. Emily Lakdawalla shares a beautiful image of Saturn almost lost in the myriad stars of the Milky Way. The first Space Launch System rocket won’t carry astronauts, and Bill Nye says that’s probably a good thing. Bruce Betts reports in from the Planetary Defense Conference in Tokyo for this week’s What’s Up.

2017 Humans to Mars Summit
2017 Humans to Mars Summit Mat Kaplan leads a discussion at the 2017 Humans To Mars Summit with NASA Associate Administrators (L to R) Thomas Zurbuchen, William Gerstenmaier and Stephen Jurczyk.Image: <a href="">Christina Korp</a>
NASA's Journey to Mars strategy
NASA's Journey to Mars strategy Image: NASA

This week's question:

What Near Earth Asteroid will the Hayabusa 2 mission visit and return samples from?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, May 24th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

With legs deployed, how tall was the Lunar Excursion Module (Ascent and Descent Modules)?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What are the names of the two Astrobots on the surface of Mars? You’ll find them on the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.


Biff Starling and Sandy Moondust are the LEGO Astrobots sent by the Planetary Society to Mars on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.