Planetary Radio • May 30, 2018

A Sacred Place: The National Air and Space Museum with Ellen Stofan

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On This Episode

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Ellen Stofan

Planetary Geologist and Director of the National Air and Space Museum

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Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society

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Mat Kaplan

Senior Communications Adviser and former Host of Planetary Radio for The Planetary Society

Planetary geologist Ellen Stofan has just become Director of the most popular museum in the United States. The NASM protects and shares the greatest collection of space and aviation treasures on Earth. Mat Kaplan talks with the former NASA Chief Scientist about her new job and how the museum serves to inspire and inform millions each year. Senior editor Emily Lakdawalla prepares us for an exciting encounter between Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft and asteroid Ryugu. Harry Potter fans, rejoice! Bruce Betts corrects his correction of an astronomical observation by Harry and his classmates. We also offer another signed copy of Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto.

Ellen Stofan and Mat Kaplan at NASM
Ellen Stofan and Mat Kaplan at NASM Image: Mat Kaplan
NASM entrance hall
NASM entrance hall Image: Mat Kaplan
NASM Lunar Module & X-15
NASM Lunar Module & X-15 Image: Mat Kaplan

This week's question:

On which space missions did Alan Bean fly?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, June 6th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What hardware did The Planetary Society provide to the Phoenix Mars lander mission?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

Who was the first person to orbit the Moon alone in his spacecraft?


Astronaut John Young was the first orbit the moon alone as part of the Apollo 10 mission.