Planetary Radio • Oct 25, 2016

Alan Stern and a Triumph at Pluto

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Stern A Photo High Res Speaking

Alan Stern

New Horizons Principal Investigator

Alan Stern of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond was in Pasadena for the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. He joined Mat Kaplan for a very special conversation down the street at Planetary Society HQ. Emily Lakdawalla and Bruce Betts report in from the DPS meeting, where Bill Nye the Science Guy is heard giving Alan Stern and his team the Society’s Cosmos award.

Alan Stern accepts the Cosmos Award
Alan Stern accepts the Cosmos Award Image: The Planetary Society
Pluto's brilliant 'heart'
Pluto's brilliant 'heart' This high-resolution image captured by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface shows a remarkable range of subtle colors, enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. The bright expanse is the western lobe of the “heart,” informally known as Tombaugh Regio. The lobe, informally called Sputnik Planum, has been found to be rich in nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane ices.Image: NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI
Alan Stern and host Mat Kaplan at The Planetary Society
Alan Stern and host Mat Kaplan at The Planetary Society Image: Alan Stern

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This week's prizes are a lovely men’s or women’s Planetary Radio t-shirt, a Planetary Society rubber asteroid, and a 200-point astronomy account.

This week's question:

What science instruments on New Horizons have names of characters from the old television series, “The Honeymooners?”

To submit your answer:

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

Last week's question:

In what region of Mars will the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli land?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What moon in our solar system has the longest orbital period around its parent planet?


Neptune’s moon Neso has the longest orbital period of any moon in the solar system at 26.67 Earth years.