Planetary Radio, the weekly space exploration program, begins distribution across the United States on National Public Radio's Public Radio Satellite System on July 20, 2004, the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Planetary Radio is the only half-hour public radio program in the United States devoted solely to space exploration.
Planetary Radio will be downlinked weekly on the Public Radio Satellite Service satellite Tuesdays at 1:00 PM PT on Channel A67.7. Anyone who misses a show can listen to it on The Planetary Society's website, http://planetary.org/radio, which archives all past programs.
"The public has been captivated by recent events at Mars and Saturn, showing once again the enormous interest in space," said Planetary Society Director of Projects Bruce Betts. "Planetary Radio brings you in-depth interviews with the people who make space exploration happen, and fascinating insights into the universe delivered in a way that will put a smile on your face."
Two Apollo astronauts are featured on the premiere program of Planetary Radio to be offered on NPR's satellite system. Rusty Schweickart tells of his experience on Apollo 9 and discusses his current efforts to protect Earth from a possible collision with a Near Earth Object, and moonwalker Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17) talks about the legacy and promise of the Apollo program.
Each week Planetary Radio offers an in-depth conversation with a scientist, engineer, project manager, astronaut or author on the quest for knowledge about our universe. In addition to special guest interviews, every episode includes such regular segments as "What's Up!" a weekly humorous chat about current night sky information, as well as planetary missions; and "Random Space Facts," informative, timely tidbits about anything space-related. Planetary Radio also hosts a weekly space trivia contest for listener participation.
"We couldn't be more thrilled as we begin making Planetary Radio available to hundreds of additional radio stations," said Mat Kaplan, producer and host of the series. "We've already built an enthusiastic international audience on the web, but there's nothing like being able to tune in to us on your local public radio station."
Planetary Radio airs every Monday from 5:30 to 6:00 PM PT on KUCI in Irvine, CA and at 9:30 AM ET on WMUH in Allentown, PA, and will be broadcast on other NPR stations according to their individual schedules. KUCI also features a link to a live broadcast stream on their website at http://www.kuci.org/, allowing listeners around the world to enjoy the show.