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LightSail Triumphant! A Mission Press Conference

After a roller coaster ride that included a maddening eight-day silence, the LightSail test mission finally achieved all of its major goals. Leaders of the mission team gathered on June 10th to take questions from the media, and share their thoughts and emotions with the general public. Today’s show presents highlights of that briefing. Emily Lakdawalla is seeing things on Pluto, and she’s not alone. Bruce Betts takes Mat Kaplan on a walk in space during this week’s What’s Up segment.

Cassini Update AND LightSail Spreads its Wings!

Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker, returns with another update on the magnificent mission at Saturn. You’ll also hear Bill Nye and the moment when LightSail began to deploy its solar sail.

Spiraling Closer to Ceres With the Dawn Mission’s Marc Rayman

It’s the biggest dwarf planet between here and Pluto, and it has a new permanent resident. The Dawn spacecraft is orbiting Ceres in the asteroid belt, revealing it as never before. What are those bright spots anyway? We spend time with Dawn’s Chief Engineer and Director, Marc Rayman.

Alan Stern and the Rise of Pluto

Humankind’s arrival at Pluto is barely two months away. The science and images have already started to flow from New Horizons, according to the mission’s Principal Investigator, Alan Stern. Alan returns to Planetary Radio this week.

Sean Solomon on the Climactic End of the MESSENGER Mission to Mercury

We open with the countdown to destruction—the MESSENGER spacecraft’s impact on Mercury ended its spectacularly successful mission. Principal Investigator Sean Solomon joins us immediately after this big finish.

Humans Orbiting Mars: Report on the Workshop

A human mission to orbit Mars might be possible by 2033, and it might be accomplished at reasonable cost and with existing or nearly-ready technology. Three leaders of a recent Washington DC conference on this topic provide a report.

Year of the Icy Worlds

We’ll visit the Jet Propulsion Lab on its Icy Worlds Day to learn more about spacecraft exploring Ceres, Enceladus and Europa from leaders of these missions.

A Recipe for a Small Planet

Astronomer and planetary scientist Courtney Dressing is the lead author of research that may have found the formula for the mass and composition of Earth-like planets. She reveals the ingredients and why she spent time at JPL while in high school.

The Exciting Year Ahead on the Final Frontier

The Planetary Society’s experts look forward to a great year of firsts in the solar system and beyond.

Orion Launches Into History

NASA’s Orion spacecraft has taken its first step toward Mars and an asteroid mission. The Planetary Society’s Jason Davis was at the Kennedy Space Center for the December 5 mission.

Cassini Mission Update From Project Scientist Linda Spilker

Cassini is safe! Project scientist Linda Spilker returns with a regular update on Saturn, its moons and rings not long after learning that the mission is funded through its 2017 plunge into the planet.

Ancient Water Was Here Before the Sun

Ilse Cleeves is lead author of a paper that concludes up to half of our solar system’s water is older than the solar system itself. The implications for life across the galaxy are profound.

Alan Stern and a Big Milestone on the Way to Pluto

New Horizons passed through the orbit of Neptune on August 25th. By cosmic coincidence, this was the 25th anniversary of Voyager 2’s flyby of that big, blue world. We catch Principal Investigator Alan Stern right after a celebration in Washington.

Microbes in Orbit: Cheryl Nickerson’s Revealing Biomedical Research

You may have heard that the sometimes deadly Salmonella bacterium becomes stronger in microgravity. Cheryl Nickerson tell us about this and other results her team has conducted in low Earth orbit.

Emily Lakdawalla At Her Favorite Conference While Alan Stern Stirs Up the Solar System

Emily shares highlights from last week’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, and Alan Stern provides updates on the Rosetta comet mission and his New Horizons probe that is nearing Pluto, and addresses the controversy around Uwingu’s Name a Martian Crater project.

Talking with JPL's Blaine Baggett and Ed Stone About "The Stuff of Dreams"

JPL’s Blaine Baggett and former JPL director Ed Stone talk “The Stuff of Dreams,” a documentary about an era in planetary exploration that was both exhilarating and exasperating. Emily Lakdawalla explains why Curiosity has joined the fraternity of backward driving rovers on Mars, and Bill Nye considers the not-too-distant future when airliners and spaceliners will share the sky.

A 2014 Preview From Emily Lakdawalla

24 spacecraft are either busy exploring the solar system or speeding toward an exciting destination. The Planetary Society's Senior Editor takes us on a whirlwind advance tour.

A Big Week for Space Science at the AGU and Beyond

The annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union revealed lots of science, some of it astounding. Emily Lakdawalla was there with Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator Casey Dreier, whose news was not quite as good.

Juno's Brief Home Visit on the Road to Jupiter

Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton reviews the spacecraft's Earth flyby and previews its long stay at our solar system's king of planets.

Emily Lakawalla's DPS Report

The Planetary Society’s Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist recaps this year’s revealing meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS).

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