Planetary Radio • Sep 30, 2013

Gregory and James Benford on the "Starship Century"

On This Episode

20130930 gregory benford th

Gregory Benford

Physicist and Science Fiction Author for UC Irvine

20130930 james benford th

James Benford

Physicist and President of Microwave Sciences for Microwave Sciences

“Starship Century—Toward the Grandest Horizon” is the new collection of fact and fiction assembled by Gregory and James Benford.  The brothers are among the leaders of a renaissance in research and thinking about interstellar travel. They have returned to Planetary Radio to talk about this story of human destiny among the stars.  Emily Lakdawalla explores the ancient basins of Luna.  Bill Nye takes time out from “Dancing With The Stars” to talk about the dance between a new commercial space capsule and the International Space Station.  It’s shrouds and clouds of planets for Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan on What’s Up.

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Trivia Contest

This week's prize package is swag from the new movie, "Gravity!"

This week's question:
What is Mercury's eccentricity?  (Give us at least 2 or 3 digits.)

To submit your answer:
Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Monday, October 7th, at 2pm Pacific Time.  Be sure to include your name, mailing address and shirt size.

Last week's question:
What is the name of the location where MER Opportunity will spend the next Martian winter?

The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:
What happened to Mariner 3?  What went wrong with Mariner 3 that had to be corrected for Mariner 4?

Mariner 3's protective shroud did not separate, so the spacecraft could not extend its solar wings.  A new, all-metal shroud was designed for Mariner 4.