Planetary Radio • Dec 31, 2013

Amy Mainzer Is Hunting Asteroids With NEOWISE

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On This Episode

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Amy Mainzer

Professor in the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona, Principal Investigator for the NEOWISE mission, and leads the NEO Surveyor project

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Bill Nye

Chief Executive Officer for The Planetary Society

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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

Take a spacecraft that can no longer survey the realm of galaxies and repurpose it to discover thousands of much nearer asteroids and comets. Put it to sleep for 2.5 years, then wake it up and start discovering even more! JPL’s Amy Mainzer is Principal Investigator for NEOWISE, the mission using this amazing space telescope.  She’d like to build the far more powerful NEOCAM next. Emily Lakdawalla gets reacquainted with the Planetary Society Student Astronauts a decade after their Mars adventure. Know where Europa is?  Enceladus? Bill Nye wishes everyone knew. Bruce Betts says the best views of Venus may be nearly over for now. You can win a Year In Space Wall Calendar in the space trivia contest.

Related Links

Trivia Contest

This week's prize is the 2014 Year In Space Wall Calendar!

This week's question:
Who recorded the first observations that indicated Venus has phases like the Moon?

To submit your answer:
Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Monday, January 6, at 2pm Pacific Time.  Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:
Around what location in space will the Gaia spacecraft orbit?

The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:
What is the only planet in the solar system besides Earth to have had a successful soft lander before it had a successful orbiter?

Venus was visited by the Soviet Union's remarkable Venera 7 in 1970.