Planetary Radio • Dec 02, 2014

Kip Thorne and the Science of Interstellar

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On This Episode

Kip Thorne

Richard Feynman Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics for CalTech

Spoiler alert. Famed physicist Kip Thorne says you might be able to survive a plunge into a black hole after all! That’s just one molecule of the fascinating science behind the science fiction film he helped create. We’ll talk about the movie and Kip’s new book, “The Science of Interstellar.” Emily Lakdawalla and Bill Nye preview several major space events, and Bruce Betts joins Mat Kaplan for another stellar edition of What’s Up.

Kip Thorne
Kip Thorne Caltech physicist Kip Thorne was an executive producer of “Interstellar” and one of its science advisors.Image: Paramount Pictures

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This week's prize is the beautiful and informative Year in Space Desk and Wall Calendars.

This week's question:

What relatively bright star in our sky is Pioneer 10 headed for, and will reach the vicinity of in about 2 million years?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Tuesday, December 9, at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What are the TWO active region numbers assigned to the giant sunspot that was visible during the most recent partial solar eclipse. The second number was assigned when the region reappeared as the Sun rotated.


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What is the approximate mass of the Philae lander? Hint: It’s more than an ant.


The Philae comet lander has a mass of about 100 kilograms.