Planetary Radio • Oct 27, 2015

A Conversation with Andy Weir of “The Martian”

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Andy Weir

Author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary

It was the #1 New York Times bestseller, and as this week’s Planetary Radio premiered it was once again the most popular movie in the USA. “The Martian” has won universal acclaim from scientists, astronauts, NASA, science fiction fans, and people who thought they weren’t science fiction fans. Mat Kaplan talks with the author about his harrowing, uplifting, amazingly detailed and realistic tale. Emily is delighted by the massive release of Ceres data that enabled the first color images of the dwarf planet. Someone will win Bill Nye’s voice on their voicemail system.

Andy Weir, author of "The Martian"
Andy Weir, author of "The Martian" Image: Mat Kaplan

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This week's prizes are a lovely Planetary Radio t-shirt and Bill Nye’s personalized greeting on your voicemail!

This week's question:

What was Carl Sagan’s middle name?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Tuesday, November 3rd at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

As of 1980 AND 2015, how many asteroids had been explored by spacecraft either by flyby or orbiter? Here’s a hint: There were zero in 1980.


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

As of 1980 AND 2015, how many worlds had either been soft-landed on or had successful atmospheric probes? No touch-and-go or fly-through sample return missions.


Four planets had been soft-landed on and/or atmospherically-probed by 1980: Earth, Venus, Mars and the Moon. Jupiter, Titan, Eros and Comet 67P were added by 2015.