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Planetary Radio: Space Exploration, Astronomy and Science

The Planetary Society

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Planetary Radio brings you the human adventure across our solar system and beyond. We visit each week with the scientists, engineers, leaders, advocates and astronauts who are taking us across the final frontier. Regular features raise your space IQ...Show More

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Watching the Births of Solar Systems

42:19 | Feb 13th

Radio telescopes are delivering stunning images that, in some cases, current optical telescopes can’t equal. Witness the 20 beautiful protoplanetary disks imaged by the DSHARP team using the ALMA radio telescope in Chile. The diversity of these proto...Show More

The DART Mission: Learning How to Swat Dangerous Asteroids

49:02 | Feb 6th

Why did the dinosaurs die? Because they didn’t have a space program! The upcoming DART mission will test our best thinking about how we may someday deflect a Near Earth Object that is speeding toward fiery Armageddon on Earth. Nancy Chabot of the JHU...Show More

Space Policy Edition: Should the U.S. be in a space race with China?

1:07:46 | Feb 1st

China's space program notched an impressive "first" last month when its Chang'e 4 spacecraft landed on the far side of the Moon. The U.S. space program, in contrast, was in the midst of an extended shutdown. Some observers expect China's growing spac...Show More

Where Do We Come From? The Origin of Life

56:27 | Jan 30th

Astrobiology is the discipline that explores the origin of life in the universe, and whether life exists anywhere other than Earth. It’s an increasingly exciting field according to University of Washington Research Associate Michael Wong. Mike review...Show More

Asteroid Bennu’s Visitor From Earth

33:17 | Jan 23rd

Spacecraft OSIRIS REx is now orbiting a 260-meter asteroid named Bennu.  Principal investigator Dante Lauretta returns to tell us what has already been learned, and to preview the excitement that is still to come, including the probe’s descent to the...Show More

Space Policy Edition: Shutdown

1:00:38 | Jan 18th

In a government shutdown seemingly without end, we bring you two stories from individuals directly impacted by the crisis. NASA scientist and union representative Lee Stone discusses the missed paychecks, loss of science, and lasting negative consequ...Show More

Flying the Skies of Saturn’s Moon Titan

47:31 | Jan 16th

Imagine soaring over what may be the solar system’s most Earth-like world, if you ignore the chill. If funded, the nuclear electric-powered Dragonfly will do exactly this. Principal Investigator Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle shares her enthusiasm. Emily La...Show More

New Horizons Flyby: Join the Celebration!

1:04:03 | Jan 9th

Join us at the Applied Physics Lab in Maryland for the New Horizons encounter with the most distant object ever visited. You’ll meet mission leaders, friends and even a rock and roll star as we dive deep into this triumph of exploration.  Then Bruce ...Show More

A Mission to Earth: OSIRIS-REx

38:45 | Jan 2nd

Why do so many spacecraft that are headed across our solar system turn their instruments back to Earth during flybys?  OSIRIS-REx was no exception. The answers come from mission scientist Vicky Hamilton.  She has also written about the topic in The P...Show More

Countdown to Ultima: Alan Stern and New Horizons

44:13 | Dec 26th, 2018

The New Horizons spacecraft will reach faraway Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 in the first minutes of 2019.  Will the body informally known as Ultima Thule be as mysterious and exciting as Pluto? We’ll hear from the mission’s Principal Investigator, Al...Show More

Earthrise! The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 8

52:36 | Dec 19th, 2018

This is the 50th anniversary of the most audacious space mission in history. Apollo 8 blazed a path for the first moon landing seven months later, and gave a troubled nation reason for hope and pride.  Author Robert Kurson has written Rocket Men as a...Show More

At the Space Settlement Summit With Former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden

51:51 | Dec 12th, 2018

He led NASA for eight years, but not till he had flown on four Space Shuttle missions and enjoyed a long military career. Charlie Bolden talks with Mat about his time at the space agency and where we’re headed on the final frontier.  Space station de...Show More

Space Policy Edition: Canada's Uncertain Future in Space (with Kate Howells)

1:09:40 | Dec 7th, 2018

Canada was the third country in history to launch a satellite into space, but now lags in its space ambitions, capability, and spending. What happened? Kate Howells, who serves on the Canadian Space Advisory Board, joins the podcast to talk about the...Show More

Last Week, Mars. This week, An Asteroid Called Bennu.

42:01 | Dec 5th, 2018

The InSight lander has only just arrived on Mars. Now, OSIRIS REx has reached asteroid Bennu after traveling through deep space for a year and a half. We’ll talk with the Planetary Society’s Jason Davis about this mission that will bring a sample of ...Show More

A Great Day for Space Explorers: The Landing of InSight

1:01:21 | Nov 28th, 2018

Join 1,000 anxious yet thrilled space fans at Caltech for our live InSight landing party.  You’ll meet Mat Kaplan’s onstage experts and check in with Bill Nye and Emily Lakdawalla at the Jet Propulsion Lab.  Then we’ll hold our breath as the spacecra...Show More

We Know Where the 2020 Rover Will Look for Martian Life

44:19 | Nov 21st, 2018

NASA announced on November 19th that the multi-billion dollar 2020 Mars rover will land in Jezero crater, where it will begin the search for the signature of past life. The selection process took five years, and Briony Horgan of Purdue University was...Show More

Space Policy Edition: After the Midterms—Looking Ahead with Marcia Smith

51:53 | Nov 16th, 2018

The counting continues as we publish this month’s special episode, with a handful of seats in the US Senate and House still up for grabs.  But with the Democratic takeover of the House assured, and several longtime space advocates turned out, change ...Show More

Moon Mission 3D from Queen Guitarist Brian May and David Eicher

36:57 | Nov 14th, 2018

You haven’t seen the best pictures from the Apollo era and other great space achievements till you’ve seen them in 3D.  Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May is also mad about stereoscopic imagery.  He worked with this week’s guest, Astronomy ...Show More

Where Do We Come From? – Exploring the Origins of Life Lab

40:12 | Nov 7th, 2018

They may be the most important questions in all of science: Where do we come from?  Are we alone? Researchers Ralph Pudritz and Maikel Rheinstadter are working on these puzzles with their new Planetary Simulator, possibly edging toward the natural cr...Show More

Celebrating Kepler

44:49 | Oct 31st, 2018

The Kepler mission has ended.  Listen to highlights of the October 30th media briefing that included the father of the fantastically successful planet finder, William Borucki.  Then catch the thoughts of Planetary Society editors and commentators Jas...Show More

Sailing to an Asteroid on the Light of the Sun

51:10 | Oct 24th, 2018

LightSail 2 is not the only solar sail in the universe. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Lab are preparing to send NEA Scout on a long, light-propelled journey to a near Earth asteroid.  Principal Investigator Les Johnson sh...Show More

Back to Saturn for Brand New Cassini Science

38:08 | Oct 17th, 2018

Our most frequent guest returns with exciting, just-published research enabled by the 20-year mission’s enormous success. Linda Spilker has served as Cassini Project Scientist for 8 years, and was Deputy Project Scientist for the previous 13.  You’ll...Show More

Celebrating Astronomy Day with the Giant Magellan Telescope

1:02:21 | Oct 10th, 2018

Happy Astronomy Day, October 13, 2018!  We salute humankind’s long history of stargazing by checking in on what will be our planet’s largest telescope. Patrick McCarthy is an astronomer and a leader of the Giant Magellan Telescope project. He returns...Show More

Space Policy Edition: How NASA Came to Be

1:11:11 | Oct 5th, 2018

Happy 60th, NASA. In celebration of the space agency’s birthday, we do the audio equivalent of pulling out NASA’s baby book and explore its origin story. Though legislation creating the space agency developed in the wake of Sputnik, it was built upon...Show More

John Logsdon on the Dawn of the Space Age

50:32 | Oct 3rd, 2018

The Dean of space policy, John Logsdon, returns with stories and a new book of original documents that shaped the US space program from the birth of NASA to SpaceX.  Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye reports in from this year’s International Astronautic...Show More

SpaceX Builds a Big Falcon Rocket

42:39 | Sep 26th, 2018

A mostly SpaceX episode as the ambitious company provides updated details regarding its huge new rocket and introduces its first astronauts. Mat Kaplan shares more from the company’s headquarters, while Planetary Society Digital Editor explains and e...Show More

Return to Fiery Mercury With BepiColombo

39:10 | Sep 19th, 2018

Elsa Montagnon is Spacecraft Operations Manager for the European/Japanese mission leaving for our solar system’s innermost planet very soon. She joins us to talk about the long journey ahead. Elsa also has the cover article in the brand new edition o...Show More

Opportunity, Phone Home!

35:15 | Sep 12th, 2018

The dust is settling on the Red Planet.  Is the remaining Mars Exploration Rover about to rise and shine after three months of slumber?  MER Project Manager John Callas returns with a realistic yet hopeful assessment.  He also tells us what Opportuni...Show More

Space Policy Edition: Did NASA Ace its Midterms? With Special Guest Louise Prockter

1:26:51 | Sep 7th, 2018

We talk with planetary scientist and Lunar and Planetary Institute Director Louise Prockter, who co-led creation of a new report evaluating the performance of NASA's planetary science division. This comes five years after the release of the influenti...Show More

Big Science, Big Rocket at the Marshall Space Flight Center

1:21:54 | Sep 5th, 2018

Mat Kaplan’s Huntsville, Alabama trip wraps up with a tour of the historic and history-making Marshall Space Flight Center. Join him at the control center for research underway on the International Space Station, under a tent where a critical compone...Show More

Space, Rockets, and a Senatorial Encounter in Huntsville, Alabama

57:57 | Aug 29th, 2018

Host Mat Kaplan begins a two-episode visit to Huntsville and the Marshall Space Flight Center, recorded this week at the US Space and Rocket Center with astronaut Don Thomas, 94-year-old Apollo engineer Alex McCool, and Alabama Senator Doug Jones.  B...Show More

Pluto Occults! Join Us on the Mountain

38:09 | Aug 22nd, 2018

Pluto passed in front of a star on the evening of August 14. Mat Kaplan joined pro and amateur astronomers on a mountain to observe this rare event. It may reveal more about the dwarf planet’s tenuous atmosphere and other properties. Everyone hopes t...Show More

Giving Mysterious Venus the Love (and Science) She Deserves

57:39 | Aug 15th, 2018

We have so much to learn about Venus, says JPL scientist Sue Smrekar.  What we learn will help us understand our own world and Mars.  Sue joins us this week to make a great case for a new Venus orbiter. The Parker Solar Probe has begun its exciting j...Show More

Dark Energy’s Co-Discoverer and the Leader of Chinese Space Science

41:10 | Aug 8th, 2018

It has been 20 years since we learned the expansion of the universe is accelerating due to the mysterious force called dark energy. Saul Perlmutter shared the Nobel Prize in Physics because of his contributions. Now he shares his thoughts with us.  A...Show More

Space Policy Edition: Destination…Mars? Contradictions and Principles

1:01:45 | Aug 3rd, 2018

The Senate just held a hearing on NASA's efforts to send humans to...Mars? A week later, the same committee advanced legislation to extend the life of the International Space Station to 2030, six years beyond the current end-date and two years beyond...Show More

Diving Into That Lake on Mars

49:18 | Aug 1st, 2018

Our world was rocked by last week’s announcement of good radar evidence for a liquid water “lake” under the Red Planet’s south pole.   Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla introduces us to the story that is then taken up by two of host Mat Kaplan’s favorit...Show More

Hayabusa2 Reaches a Dark Diamond in Space

55:05 | Jul 25th, 2018

Japan’s Hayabusa2 is just 6 kilometers from asteroid Ryugu as it prepares to snatch samples of the space rock for return to Earth.  ISAS/JAXA Director General and former Hayabusa Mission Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka joins us for a conversation ab...Show More

An African Observatory Hunts Killer Asteroids

44:40 | Jul 18th, 2018

One of the Planetary Society’s 2018 Shoemaker Near-Earth Object grants has gone to astronomers searching the sky from a mountaintop in the North African nation of Morocco.  Observer Michel Ory tells us about their work.  Tim Spahr ran the Minor Plane...Show More

Something Old and Something New: Exciting Research on the International Space Station

52:30 | Jul 11th, 2018

Sextants have helped sailors find their way across oceans for centuries. Now one is onboard the International Space Station so that astronauts can learn to find their way across the solar system even if other technologies fail. Reaching the ISS on th...Show More

Space Policy Edition: Space Force! With Special Guest Brian Weeden

1:48:18 | Jul 6th, 2018

The President recently ordered the creation of Space Force—but what does that mean? What are the implications for militarization of space? National security expert Dr. Brian Weeden joins the show to explain the announcement. Weeden also breaks down S...Show More

Dwarf Planet Ceres Thrills as a Dying Visitor Closes In

33:52 | Jul 4th, 2018

Ceres is the queen of the asteroid belt.  Her first Earthly visitor is nearing its last days in spectacular style.  Dawn Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman returns with stunning images taken from just 35 kilometers or 22 miles above the ...Show More

It’s Asteroid Week with NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer

42:29 | Jun 27th, 2018

The dinosaurs regret their lack of a space program.  200 million years later, humans are gearing up to defend themselves from a species-ending rock.  The many challenges involved are addressed in a new strategic action plan created by sixteen agencie...Show More

Kathryn Sullivan, Space Dentistry and More at the International Space Development Conference

47:35 | Jun 20th, 2018

Freeman Dyson wasn’t the only space star at the ISDC.  Mat talks with former astronaut and NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, leaders of the Cassini mission, innovative students and an expert on dental care in space.  Keep flossing!  Planetary Soci...Show More

A Conversation with Freeman Dyson

41:24 | Jun 13th, 2018

There’s so much more to Freeman Dyson than the Dyson Sphere.  The mathematician, physicist, futurist and author is one of the greatest and most original minds of our era.  He has much to say to Mat Kaplan about the future of space exploration and hum...Show More

It’s Rocket Science: Testing PlanetVac in the Mojave Desert

50:43 | Jun 6th, 2018

Join Mat Kaplan in California’s Mojave Desert for special coverage of not one but two rocket flights and a real world test of PlanetVac, the innovative, radically simple way to collect surface samples from other worlds.  PlanetVac replaced one foot o...Show More

Space Policy Edition: Space Policy Directive 2—This Time it's Commercial

1:13:33 | Jun 1st, 2018

President Trump just signed a new space policy directive targeting the regulations surrounding commercial spaceflight. Casey Dreier, Jason Davis and Mat Kaplan dive into the implications of the new directive and what it means for the relationship bet...Show More

A Sacred Place: The National Air and Space Museum with Ellen Stofan

36:45 | May 30th, 2018

Planetary geologist Ellen Stofan has just become Director of the most popular museum in the United States.  The NASM protects and shares the greatest collection of space and aviation treasures on Earth. Mat Kaplan talks with the former NASA Chief Sci...Show More

Chasing New Horizons to Pluto with Alan Stern and David Grinspoon

56:33 | May 23rd, 2018

The New Horizons mission was a triumph, revealing Pluto as an utterly unique and beautiful world. But the mission first had to survive challenge after challenge, fighting to be developed, meeting a nearly impossible launch deadline, and then narrowly...Show More

Why Mars? We’ve Got the Answers

40:39 | May 16th, 2018

The great adventure awaits! Mat Kaplan hosts an entertaining panel discussion at the 2018 Humans to Mars Summit in Washington DC.  Eight guests provide their diverse and inspiring reasons for humans to visit the Red Planet.  Bruce Betts later joins M...Show More

Amy Mainzer: Asteroid Hunter

38:06 | May 9th, 2018

After taking over 10 million images of more than 30,000 solar system objects, the NEOWISE mission is finally in its last months.  Principal Investigator Amy Mainzer returns with an update on this phenomenal success and a look ahead toward a much more...Show More

Space Policy Edition: A Commercial Future for the Space Station?

1:04:48 | May 4th, 2018

After announcing it intends to divest from the International Space Station in 2025, NASA quietly released a new report on its transition plans, laying out a series of principles that will set the future of U.S. astronauts in low-Earth orbit. Can a pr...Show More

All Shook Up: The InSight Mission to Mars

1:23:35 | May 2nd, 2018

No mission to Mars has done what InSight will do.  The lander’s spectacularly sensitive instruments will use the Red Planet’s heat and marsquakes to reveal its deep interior while also revealing secrets of other rocky worlds like our own Earth.  Prin...Show More

Planetary Radio Live! – Celebrating Curiosity on Mars

1:37:06 | Apr 25th, 2018

Join us for an utterly fascinating live conversation with Emily Lakdawalla about her brand new book, The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job. Also joining us at Caltech were Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasa...Show More

Yuri’s Night 2018!

56:23 | Apr 18th, 2018

Host Mat Kaplan once again attends the worldwide party for space.  Join him at the Los Angeles celebration under Space Shuttle Endeavour.  You’ll hear conversations with astronauts Nicole Stott and Anousheh Ansari, Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesid...Show More

Visiting the Earth-Like Worlds of TRAPPIST-1

33:08 | Apr 11th, 2018

We have begun to understand the composition of worlds that are hundreds of trillions of kilometers from Earth. Astronomer Nikole Lewis is co-leader of a team that has used the Hubble Space Telescope to do this with the four Earth-like planets circlin...Show More

Space Policy Edition: Lori Garver on what a NASA Administrator (and Deputy) actually does

1:18:51 | Apr 6th, 2018

Lori Garver, former Deputy Administrator of NASA, talks with Casey about what the Deputy and Administrator jobs are like day-to-day, how decisions actually get made at the top, and why the current lack of confirmed leadership hurts the space agency. ...Show More

AI, Space, and Humanity’s Future—A Conversation with David Brin

1:09:48 | Apr 4th, 2018

The multi-award winning science fiction author, futurist and speaker returns to Planetary Radio for a wide-ranging conversation about robots and humans in space, empathetic artificial intelligences, how we can survive the Singularity and much more.  ...Show More

A Space Station Crashes to Earth

51:46 | Mar 28th, 2018

By the time you hear this week’s episode, China’s Tiangong-1 may have spectacularly re-entered our planet’s atmosphere, raining metal on an unpredictable location.  The Aerospace Corporation’s Bill Ailor, an expert on space debris, tells us there’s l...Show More

Stephen Hawking: Spaceflight Pioneer!

40:51 | Mar 21st, 2018

He is known for his breakthrough physics and popularizing of science, but Dr. Hawking also wanted to fly in space. Erik Viirre led the medical team that helped Stephen experience weightlessness.  He says the adventure helped open the possibility of s...Show More

Amateur Astronomers Work To Save Earth From Asteroids!

38:19 | Mar 14th, 2018

Seven astronomers have been selected to receive Shoemaker NEO (Near Earth Object) grants from the Planetary Society.  They and their observatories span the planet.  We’ll meet an American and an Australian.  Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts provid...Show More

Visiting the Birthplace of PlanetVac

46:38 | Mar 7th, 2018

Space is hard.  Sample collection and return is harder still.  That’s why the radically-simplified PlanetVac system from Honeybee Robotics is so intriguing.  Join Planetary Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts and host Mat Kaplan on a tour of Honeybee...Show More

Space Policy Edition #23 - Blitzing Congress: Planetary Society volunteers visit Capitol Hill

37:18 | Mar 2nd, 2018

Society members from 21 states descended on the U.S. capitol for a "blitz" of 178 meetings in two days. Casey and special guest Matt Renninger explain why that is such an important activity, and blitzers Leah and Stefanie Griffith share their story o...Show More

Experience A Message From Earth - Inspired by the Voyager Golden Record

50:49 | Feb 28th, 2018

It has been 40 years since Carl Sagan and others shared the best of humanity with the stars. A new online multimedia project has been created as a 21st century homage to the Golden Record.

The Eyes of a New Mars Rover: Mastcam-Z

49:32 | Feb 21st, 2018

Mat Kaplan attended a meeting of the science team for the zoom lens camera that will be atop the Mars 2020 rover mast. Planetary Scientist Jim Bell tells us how this new system will show us the Red Planet as we’ve never seen it before.

Space Policy Edition Special: The 2019 President’s Budget Request Unveiled

53:12 | Feb 16th, 2018

As promised, Casey Dreier and Jason Callahan are back with a special review of the just-released FY 2019 President’s Budget Request (PBR) for NASA. It contains good news, bad news and odd news. What is likely to stand? What will Congress ignore, go...Show More

A New Congressional Caucus Backs Planetary Science

41:59 | Feb 14th, 2018

Republican Randy Hultgren and Democrat Derek Kilmer celebrate formation of the new bipartisan, bicameral caucus of US representatives and senators. They have united behind exploration of our and other solar systems. Bill Nye shares his eye and ear ...Show More

Space, SETI, the Singularity and Shostak

59:05 | Feb 7th, 2018

Where is everybody? That was the question physicist Enrico Fermi asked when he wondered why we hadn’t yet met ET. What will happen if we do? Will humans lose the will to explore?

Space Policy Edition #21: Bill Nye and the State of the Union

30:28 | Feb 2nd, 2018

Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye attended the State of the Union address on January 30th, he also spent the day meeting with sixteen different members of Congress to promote science on Capitol Hill. In this special abbreviated show, Casey Dreier and Ma...Show More

Going to Sea to Sail Through Space: Orion Ocean Recovery Testing

38:31 | Jan 31st, 2018

Join Mat Kaplan on a visit to Naval Base San Diego and the USS Anchorage, the amphibious ship that has just completed a round of Orion spacecraft recovery testing and practice.

Living in Space!

37:56 | Jan 24th, 2018

Mat Kaplan talks with participants in the National Space Society’s recent Space Settlement Summit about human destiny in space.

It’s a Hard Rain on Titan

0:00 | Jan 17th, 2018

A computer model based on our best data about Saturn’s cloud-shrouded moon says that torrential liquid methane pounds the surface far more frequently than previously expected. Sean Faulk and Jonathan Mitchell of UCLA explain.

Mysterious Tabby’s Star, With Tabby Herself

0:00 | Jan 10th, 2018

It may not host an alien “megastructure” but Tabby’s Star still guards many mysteries of science. Astronomer and astrophysicist Tabetha “Tabby” Boyajian leads the worldwide team that is revealing this strange light in the sky.

Space Policy Edition #20: Looking back on the year in space policy. Also, your questions!

0:00 | Jan 5th, 2018

It’s the space policy guys’ turn to look back at a year that saw great achievements in space. Were they matched by events in Washington DC?

Looking Back, Looking Forward with the Planetary Society All-Stars

0:00 | Jan 3rd, 2018

Mat’s first-ever four-way conversation with Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla reviews the biggest 2017 events in space exploration and provides their predictions of what to look for in the new year.

Flowing Water on Mars? Not So Much

0:00 | Dec 27th, 2017

Mars scientists dubbed them recurring slope lineae or RSLs. They sure looked like evidence of liquid water flowing down hillsides and ridges on the Red Planet. New research led by USGS Planetary Geologist Colin Dundas says otherwise.

Exploring the Latest Planetary Science Discoveries With Emily Lakdawalla

0:00 | Dec 20th, 2017

A holiday edition of Planetary Radio welcomes the Planetary Society’s Senior Editor back from the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Emily reports on amazing developments in planetary science she discovered at the huge conference.

President Trump Sets Course for the Moon

0:00 | Dec 13th, 2017

On December 11th President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that firmly points the US space effort toward the Moon, but without providing many details. Planetary Society Director of Space Policy Casey Dreier fills in some of the gaps left by this exe...Show More

A Visitor From the Stars: ‘Oumuamua

0:00 | Dec 6th, 2017

The first confirmed interstellar visitor to our solar system is a needle-shaped asteroid given the Hawaiian name ‘Oumuamua. Karen Meech leads the team that is learning as much about it as possible before it leaves our neighborhood, never to return.

Space Policy Edition #19: When did the private space age begin? Much earlier than you think.

0:00 | Dec 1st, 2017

Elon Musk. Jeff Bezos. Richard Branson. These are the names we tend to associate with the current era of private space exploration. But what about John Quincy Adams, James Lick, or Charles Yerkes? Space economist and historian Dr. Alex MacDonald join...Show More

Bob Richards of Moon Express

0:00 | Nov 29th, 2017

Moon Express Founder and CEO Bob Richards shares an inspiring vision for a return to the Moon. It includes introduction of a sophisticated line of robotic spacecraft, the first of which may make a soft landing next year.

Canada Rises…And So Does the Sun

0:00 | Nov 22nd, 2017

Canada has a new Space Advisory Board, and The Planetary Society’s Kate Howells is a member.

The Honorable Adam Schiff: Another Congressional Space Enthusiast

0:00 | Nov 15th, 2017

Congressman Adam Schiff’s California district includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is as enthusiastic a fan of the final frontier as you are likely to find under the capitol dome in Washington D.C.

Andy Weir’s New Novel Puts a City on the Moon

0:00 | Nov 8th, 2017

The author of #1 bestseller "The Martian" is back with "Artemis," a superbly-researched, rollicking adventure in the first city on the Moon.

Space Policy Edition #18: Jim Bridenstine vs. the Senate & First Meeting of the National Space Council

0:00 | Nov 3rd, 2017

The likely next Administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, appeared before a somewhat skeptical Senate committee to defend his nomination. Casey and Jason recap the hearing and assess Congressman Bridenstine’s chance of moving forward.

André Bormanis and Emily Lakdawalla on Life, the Universe and Everything

0:00 | Nov 1st, 2017

Join us for a wide-ranging, salon-style conversation about space exploration, science, art and more. Mat’s guests are astronomer, television producer/writer and former Star Trek science advisor André Bormanis and Planetary Society Senior Editor Emily...Show More

Searching for ET With Pete Worden

0:00 | Oct 25th, 2017

Are we alone? The nearly sixty-year effort to answer that question has gotten a big boost from the Breakthrough Initiatives, funded by Yuri Milner and led by former NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden, who is our guest this week.

Pamela Gay and the Image Detective

0:00 | Oct 18th, 2017

Astronomer Pamela Gay tells us how anyone can work with images of Earth taken by astronauts, turning them into terrific scientific resources.

Dawn: Ten Years of Exploration

0:00 | Oct 11th, 2017

Dawn Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman helps us salute the ion-engine powered spacecraft that first orbited asteroid Vesta in the main asteroid belt and then moved to dwarf planet Ceres, revealing two fascinating worlds.

Space Policy Edition #17: The 75th Anniversary of the Rocket Age, with Dr. Michael Neufeld

0:00 | Oct 6th, 2017

Fifteen years before Sputnik, on a bright 1942 afternoon in northern Germany, a thundering machine of metal and fire pierced the sky, ultimately touching the edge of space for the first time in history. It opened a new era of opportunity and terror w...Show More

Australia Gets Serious About Space

0:00 | Oct 4th, 2017

The Australian government announced that it would create a national space agency at the 68th annual International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide. We’ll talk with IAC 2017 CEO Brett Biddington about what this means for his country.

Celebrating Cassini…Live!

0:00 | Sep 27th, 2017

More than 1,100 fans of the just-completed 20-year mission to Saturn joined us for a live tribute.

Long Live Cassini!

0:00 | Sep 20th, 2017

Join us at JPL and Caltech on the bittersweet morning the Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn.

Science Fiction Greats on Humanity’s Destiny in Space

0:00 | Sep 13th, 2017

Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society talks with Gregory Benford, David Brin, Geoffrey Landis and Larry Niven about terraforming Mars, the origin of life, the drive to explore and more.

Sailing on the Light of the Sun With Lou Friedman

0:00 | Sep 6th, 2017

The co-founder and Executive Director Emeritus of The Planetary Society returns for a conversation about the allure of sailing through space.

Space Policy Edition #16: NASA's Flagship Missions: Are They Worth It?

0:00 | Sep 1st, 2017

The multi-billion dollar, multi-decade Cassini mission is about to end. A new report tries to answer an important question: are flagship science missions like Cassini worth the effort and expense? And how can NASA maximize the value of these endeavo...Show More

Planetary Radio Live on the Eve of the Eclipse

0:00 | Aug 30th, 2017

With hours to go before the Great American Eclipse, nine outstanding guests joined host Mat Kaplan for Planetary Radio Live in front of 1,100 rowdy eclipse and space science fans.

Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker’s Last Appearance Before the Grand Finale

0:00 | Aug 23rd, 2017

It’s the Grandest Finale. The spectacular Cassini mission’s exploration of Saturn will end on September 15th when the spacecraft plunges into the planet. Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker is back with one last mission update.

Ed Stone and Forty Years of Voyager in Space

0:00 | Aug 16th, 2017

It is most space fans’ favorite planetary science mission, and with good reason. We visit with the man who has been in charge of Voyager mission science for more than four decades.

Dark Energy Attracts? Astrophysicists Jason Rhodes and Alina Kiessling

0:00 | Aug 9th, 2017

JPL astrophysicists Alina Kiessling and Jason Rhodes were brought together by their fascination over the mystery of dark energy. They talk with Planetary Radio about their research and the many missions they are contributing to, including WFIRST, a u...Show More

Space Policy Edition #15 – Congressman Rick Larsen, Could Russia Exit the ISS?

0:00 | Aug 4th, 2017

New U.S. sanctions against Russia have reignited speculation that global politics could undermine cooperation in the International Space Station. Could Russia cut off rides for US astronauts to the ISS? Later, Casey Dreier joins Spark Science host Dr...Show More

An Eye on the Sun (In the Middle of a Lake)

0:00 | Aug 2nd, 2017

The world’s most powerful solar telescope has just been renamed for the man responsible for its creation. We’ll meet astrophysicist and helioseismologist Phil Goode, and we’ll enjoy a tour of the Goode Solar Telescope.

Planetary Radio Live! Living on Mars

0:00 | Jul 26th, 2017

Will humans live, work and thrive on Mars? What challenges must be met before we can become Martians? On July 20th, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Mat Kaplan welcomed an outstanding panel of experts for conversation in front of a Pasa...Show More

Emily Lakdawalla on the Last Orbits of Cassini

0:00 | Jul 19th, 2017

The Cassini Mission has less than two months to go before it ends with a spectacular plunge into the beautiful ringed world. Planetary Society Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla has prepared a guide to the last orbits by the historic spacecraft.

20 Years on Mars with Matt Golombek

0:00 | Jul 12th, 2017

When the Pathfinder lander reached Mars 20 years ago it began a Martian renaissance that has never paused. JPL scientist Matt Golombek was the mission’s Project Scientist. He looks back and to the future of our explorations at the Red Planet.

Space Policy Edition #14 – Ice Giants and Ocean Worlds Beckon

0:00 | Jul 7th, 2017

A new report builds the case for long overdue returns to Uranus and Neptune, while another proposal calls for exploration of the many bodies in our solar system that hide vast water oceans. Jason Callahan, Casey Dreier and Mat Kaplan dive into the t...Show More

A Cosmic Voyage with Astronomer Sandra Faber

0:00 | Jul 5th, 2017

Veteran astronomer and cosmologist Sandra Faber has just been awarded the Gruber Prize for Cosmology, honoring more than forty years of pioneering work. She talks with Mat Kaplan on this week’s show.

Happy Asteroid Day!

0:00 | Jun 28th, 2017

Asteroid Day, June 30th, marks the anniversary of the great Tunguska impact that leveled a Siberian forest. It reminds us that a Near Earth Object can destroy a city or even a civilization. Former Minor Planet Center Director Tim Spahr reviews our ef...Show More

Thomas Edison, Eclipse Chaser!

0:00 | Jun 21st, 2017

Former NPR science reporter David Baron discusses the stories of men and women who made their way across the American West to view and document the total solar eclipse of 1878.

Julie Webster and the Art of Spacecraft Endurance

0:00 | Jun 14th, 2017

How do you keep a dazzlingly complex spacecraft in good health after 20 years in space? That’s the challenge for Julie Webster and her team of engineers supporting the Cassini mission at Saturn.

Spectacular Jupiter!

0:00 | Jun 7th, 2017

Have you seen its stunning image of Jupiter’s south pole? The Juno orbiter is surpassing expectations and delivering surprising science. Scott Bolton, the mission’s Principal Investigator, is back with a thrilling report.

Space Policy Edition #13 – The 2018 Budget Proposal and Is Mars Exploration in Retrograde?

0:00 | Jun 2nd, 2017

The Trump Administration released its proposed FY2018 budget just days ago. Casey Dreier, Jason Callahan and Mat Kaplan dive deep into what this controversial plan means for NASA and how it has been received by Congress.

Buzz Aldrin and Other Martians

0:00 | May 31st, 2017

He walked with Neil Armstrong on the moon, but that may not be his greatest legacy. Buzz Aldrin was joined by other space stars at the recent Humans To Mars Summit.

Human Spaceflight: Coming Back to America

0:00 | May 24th, 2017

Astronauts may soon ride on US rockets and in US spaceships for the first time since the last Space Shuttle flight. Jon Cowart of NASA is working with SpaceX toward the first launch of a Dragon spacecraft with humans on board.

NASA Leaders on Getting Humans to Mars

0:00 | May 17th, 2017

The human journey to the Red Planet is long and hard, but Mat’s conversation with three NASA Associate Administrators at the Humans to Mars Summit was filled with cautious optimism.

Visiting Worlds Fantastic with Bonnie Buratti

0:00 | May 10th, 2017

Veteran Jet Propulsion Lab planetary scientist Bonnie Buratti talks with Mat about the wonder of our solar neighborhood that she explores in "Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar—A Guided Tour of the Solar System."

Space Policy Edition #12 – Is Space Policy Stagnant? With Special Guest Marcia Smith

0:00 | May 5th, 2017

Moon or Mars? Should NASA depend on private companies? What’s the goal of human spaceflight? These questions were debated three decades ago, yet are just as relevant today. Does that mean space policy is stagnant?

Be There! The Great American Eclipse

0:00 | May 3rd, 2017

Our ongoing coverage of preparation for the Great American Eclipse takes us to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where a huge celebration is planned.

Bill Nye Saves the World…With Space

0:00 | Apr 26th, 2017

It was a big week for the Science Guy, and for science. Bill Nye served as honorary co-chair of the March for Science in Washington DC. His new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World, premiered the next day. Two of the show’s thirteen episodes are ...Show More

McDonald Observatory and the Quest for Dark Energy

0:00 | Apr 19th, 2017

The University of Texas at Austin’s observatory is high in the hills of west Texas. In this special episode, Mat Kaplan joins the tens of thousands who visit it each year. The occasion was the dedication of the vastly upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope...Show More

Aerospace Corporation President and CEO Steve Isakowitz

0:00 | Apr 12th, 2017

The Aerospace Corporation has been innovating since 1960. Now it’s headed by a former leader of “New Space” company Virgin Galactic. President and CEO Steve Isakowitz talks about the evolving culture of the space industry.

Space Policy Edition #11 – Big Science and a Skinny Budget

0:00 | Apr 7th, 2017

Whether it’s discovering gravity waves, curing cancer or building a space station, the biggest science challenges increasingly require investments that are beyond what private industry can afford and collaborations that include many nations. Casey, J...Show More

Mars’ Atmosphere…Lost in Space!

0:00 | Apr 5th, 2017

Mars was once a warm and wet world. Then its dense, protective atmosphere mostly vanished. Learning why was one of the greatest mysteries in planetary science. The answer has just been delivered by the MAVEN orbiter.

Nancy Atkinson’s Incredible Stories from Space

0:00 | Mar 29th, 2017

The longtime editor of outstanding online space news source Universe Today has just written about nine robotic missions of exploration in "Incredible Stories From Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos."

Ready for Space: LightSail 2 Update

0:00 | Mar 22nd, 2017

The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 solar sail spacecraft is ready to be packed away for its ride to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Mat Kaplan checks the mission’s status with team members.

The Great American Eclipse—Be Part of It!

0:00 | Mar 15th, 2017

It’s coming! Will you be in the path of totality? Astronomers Without Borders President Mike Simmons says be there if you can.

Hope for Pluto—Should We Re-Redefine Planets?

0:00 | Mar 8th, 2017

Planetary geologist Kirby Runyon is lead author of an abstract that proposes a new, geophysical definition of what a planet is.

Space Policy Edition #10 - Special Guest Laura Delgado Lopez, SpaceX to the Moon, looming budget cuts

0:00 | Mar 3rd, 2017

Laura Delgado Lopez from the Harris Corporation joins us to talk about the growing number of countries getting into the space business, particularly in Latin America. Casey, Jason, and Mat also take stock of SpaceX's plans to send humans around the M...Show More

The Worlds of TRAPPIST-1

0:00 | Mar 1st, 2017

The discovery of seven, Earth-sized planets in a nearby solar system was announced last week. Astrophysicist and planetary scientist Sara Seager joins us to share her excitement about this find that includes three planets in the habitable zone.

Planetary Radio Live: Near Earth Objects—The Killer Asteroid Threat

0:00 | Feb 22nd, 2017

Leaders of the quest to find, understand and protect ourselves from the asteroids and comets called Near Earth Objects gathered with host Mat Kaplan for a live conversation about this existential threat from space.

Nazis in Space? Rod Pyle’s Amazing Stories of the Space Age

0:00 | Feb 15th, 2017

Rod Pyle reveals bizarre yet fascinating space projects of the past in his new book. Pyle also exposes previously classified information about missions and spacecraft you thought you knew.

Earth Microbes! Welcome to Mars

0:00 | Feb 7th, 2017

University of Arkansas grad student Rebecca Mickol and her team have demonstrated that some Earth bacteria can survive in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars. Could Martian bacteria thrive under the same conditions?

Space Policy Edition #9 – Congress Plots New Space Legislation Amid Trump’s Tumultuous First Two Weeks

0:00 | Feb 6th, 2017

It’s still too early to say where the Trump Administration will take NASA, but there are a few hints. Congress is not waiting. Casey, Jason and Mat review a draft of the space agency’s authorization bill and a separate act that asks NASA to lay out ...Show More

The Final Countdown at Saturn

0:00 | Jan 31st, 2017

Planetary Radio’s most frequent guest, Project Scientist Linda Spilker, returns with another update on the Cassini mission that is approaching its grand finale.

Ice, Snow and Lava: Exploring Antarctica’s Mount Erebus

0:00 | Jan 24th, 2017

Earth’s southernmost active volcano may also be its most remote. Rosaly Lopes and Michael Carroll recently spent a few frigid days on the slopes of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus. What they learned may help us understand volcanos on other worlds.

Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan Leaves NASA

0:00 | Jan 17th, 2017

For well over three years, planetary scientist Ellen Stofan has worked directly with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to help coordinate and expand the myriad science efforts by the agency. We talk with her as she ends this remarkable tenure.

Ben Miller Says The Aliens are Coming!

0:00 | Jan 10th, 2017

We are joined by British physicist turned comedian and actor Ben Miller, author of The Aliens are Coming! The Extraordinary Science Behind our Search for Life in the Universe.

Space Policy Edition #8 - A Transition "Trumpdate", 2016 in Review, and Answering Your Questions

0:00 | Jan 5th, 2017

After an opening update on the presidential transition, Casey, Jason and Mat share their nominees for the biggest space exploration events of 2016. Then they take on fascinating questions submitted by listeners. You’ll also hear the surprising early ...Show More

A Little Rocket Company Shoots for the Moon

0:00 | Jan 3rd, 2017

CEO Randa Milliron introduces us to Interorbital Systems, which wants to put your payload in orbit for as little as $8,000. Can they do it?

Marvelous Martian MAVEN

0:00 | Dec 27th, 2016

MAVEN, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution orbiter, has gone a long way toward solving the mystery of the Red Planet’s missing water and air. The University of Colorado’s Nick Schneider says it is also revealing gorgeous clouds, auroras and gl...Show More

Art That Captures the Beauty and Science of Space

0:00 | Dec 20th, 2016

Marilynn Flynn, Simon Kregar and Rick Sternbach are masters of space art. They talk about how their work furthers science and captures the imagination.

A Giant Telescope and Remembering John Glenn

0:00 | Dec 13th, 2016

Space historian John Logsdon remembers American hero John Glenn. Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye was a big fan of the Friendship 7 astronaut—less so the new Star Wars movie. Then we get an update on the Giant Magellan Telescope from Patrick McCarthy.

Running Before the Sun: Astronomer Jay Pasachoff

0:00 | Dec 6th, 2016

No one is more excited about eclipses than famed solar astronomer and author Jay Pasachoff. He looks forward to the total solar eclipse in August of 2017.

Space Policy Edition #7 - The Trump Administration: What Can We Expect for Space?

0:00 | Dec 2nd, 2016

The SPE team reviews the outlook for human spaceflight, planetary science, Earth observation and much more under the upcoming Trump administration.

Leading the Search: Bill Diamond of the SETI Institute

0:00 | Nov 29th, 2016

The SETI Institute is about much more than the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. President and CEO Bill Diamond of the Institute explains.

To Mars! With National Geographic

0:00 | Nov 22nd, 2016

The National Geographic Channel’s “Mars” miniseries has begun. Mat Kaplan attended a kickoff for the ambitious docudrama last summer. You’ll hear from series technical advisor Bobby Braun, author of “The Martian” Andy Weir, Cosmos creator Ann Druyan ...Show More

Pluto and Titan and Iran, Oh My!

0:00 | Nov 15th, 2016

Back to the annual meeting of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences this week, where Mat Kaplan visited with experts on worlds of ice including Titan and Pluto, with a side trip to the dunes of Iran.

Inside Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

0:00 | Nov 8th, 2016

Host Mat Kaplan traveled to California’s Mojave Desert for a tour of Virgin Galactic’s The Spaceship Company, where the second SpaceShipTwo was built and is undergoing flight tests. TSC Executive VP Enrico Palermo was his guide.

Space Policy Edition #6: Election 2016! Where Do Clinton and Trump Stand on Space?

0:00 | Nov 4th, 2016

Just in time for election day in the USA, we take stock of the major candidates' space policies (as far as they go), comparing statements and policy op-eds put out by both campaigns. We also look at the broader implications and challenges of the comi...Show More

Matt Taylor Rocks Rosetta

0:00 | Nov 1st, 2016

Mat Kaplan talks with Matt Taylor, the Rosetta Project Scientist, just two weeks after the spacecraft touched down on 67/P.

Alan Stern and a Triumph at Pluto

0:00 | Oct 25th, 2016

Alan Stern of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond was in Pasadena for the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. He joined Mat Kaplan for a very special conversation down the street at Planetar...Show More

Charley Kohlhase and the Greatest Voyage

0:00 | Oct 18th, 2016

How did the Voyager spacecraft manage to weave their magnificent way through the outer planets of our solar system? Mission Design Manager Charley Kohlhase led the team that crunched the numbers to select the best possible trajectory from 10,000 cand...Show More

Trekkin’ Across the Universe With Andrew Fazekas

0:00 | Oct 11th, 2016

The Night Sky Guy, Andrew Fazekas, talks about his beautiful new, Star Trek-inspired guide to the real wonders of astronomy.

Space Policy Edition #5: The U.S. Senate takes on the politics of Mars

0:00 | Oct 7th, 2016

We take a deep dive into new space legislation working its way through the US Senate. It embraces Mars and NASA's big rocket. But Elon Musk and SpaceX just announced an ambitious new plan to colonize Mars. Does this upset the political establishment?...Show More

Farewell Rosetta!

0:00 | Oct 4th, 2016

The European Space Agency’s magnificent Rosetta mission ended last week as the spacecraft gently touched down on the comet it has revealed.

Rocket Road Trip!

0:00 | Sep 27th, 2016

Planetary Society Digital Editor Jason Davis returns with the story of the ten-day trek across the South he just completed with two Society colleagues.

Cassini at Saturn: The Final Year

0:00 | Sep 20th, 2016

The great Cassini spacecraft has a year to go before it plunges into the ringed planet. Project Scientist Linda Spilker returns with more amazing mission science.

OSIRIS-REx: The Voyage to Bennu Begins, With Dante Lauretta

0:00 | Sep 13th, 2016

In two years a Near Earth Asteroid now known as Bennu will have a visitor from Earth. OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta reports on his mission’s successful launch.

Spinoffs! Sharing NASA Technology

0:00 | Sep 6th, 2016

In its nearly five decades, NASA has created or improved thousands of technologies, processes and innovations. Dan Lockney is in charge of making sure these solutions are found and utilized by industries and others in need.

Space Policy Edition #4: Near Earth Asteroids—Why we go, how we find them, and maybe mine them

0:00 | Sep 2nd, 2016

In honor of OSIRIS-REx—NASA’s newest asteroid mission—we explore the policy and history of near-Earth Objects: why NASA explores them, how the government plans to find and defending the planet, and the how policy can keep up with ambitious plans to m...Show More

The Pale Red Dot: A Planet Called Proxima b

0:00 | Aug 30th, 2016

The announcement was made just days ago. Co-discoverer Michael Endl tells us about the discovery of a roughly Earth-mass planet orbiting in the habitable zone of the closest star to our own.

Could the Soviet Union Have Won the Space Race?

0:00 | Aug 23rd, 2016

Space historian and policy expert John Logsdon joins Mat Kaplan for a fascinating conversation about how the US could have lost the race to the moon.

Sailing the Canyons of Titan

0:00 | Aug 16th, 2016

Steep canyons on Saturn's moon Titan are filled with liquid methane. That's the discovery just announced by an international team of Cassini scientists, including Alex Hayes.

Subcontractors: Making Space Happen

0:00 | Aug 9th, 2016

You may never hear their names, but there are thousands of small to medium-sized companies without which space exploration and development wouldn’t happen.

Space Policy Edition #3: Plutonium-238, Europa via SLS, Cost of the Next Mars Rover Rises

0:00 | Aug 5th, 2016

In our third episode, we debate the risks and rewards of tying the future of a Europa mission to the fate of NASA's massive Space Launch System rocket. Also, NASA just announced that the next Mars rover will cost $2.4 billion—$900 million more than i...Show More

Interstellar Dreams Turn Real

0:00 | Aug 2nd, 2016

Philip Lubin and his former student Travis Brashears have had quite a year. Their bold plan to send tiny probes to nearby stars is now supported by NASA and the Breakthrough Starshot $100 million dollar initiative. Hear their amazing story.

Anatomy of a Rover—Getting Down to Mars

0:00 | Jul 26th, 2016

It takes a lot of terrific components to create a successful spacecraft like Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory. We’ll visit JPL to learn about the Terminal Descent Sensor radar that will once again help land a rover on the Red Planet.

The Eagle Has Landed: Remembering Neil Armstrong

0:00 | Jul 19th, 2016

We celebrate the 47th anniversary of the first moon landing with the reprise of a conversation with author and NBC space reporter Jay Barbree about his trusted friend Neil Armstrong.

Juno Reaches Jupiter!

0:00 | Jul 12th, 2016

Return with us to the evening of July 4, 2016 and the exciting arrival at Jupiter of the Juno orbiter. You’ll hear the moment of successful orbital insertion. Several of the mission’s key contributors reveal how Juno accomplished this feat, along wit...Show More

Fighting for Space: Former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver

0:00 | Jul 5th, 2016

She has spent most of her life working toward a bright future for humanity in space, and Lori Garver has lost none of her passion. She visited the Planetary Society for a wide-ranging conversation with Mat Kaplan.

Space Policy Edition #2: Why Juno? Why Jupiter? Why Now?

0:00 | Jul 1st, 2016

This month Jason Callahan, Casey Dreier and Mat Kaplan ask whether the Moon vs. Mars human destination debate makes sense, highlight a new report on the science potential of CubeSats by the National Academies, and explain how a thrilling planetary sc...Show More

Planetary Radio Extra: Shining a Million Watt Flashlight on an Asteroid

0:00 | Jun 28th, 2016

PlanRad’s celebration of Asteroid Day (June 30th) continues as we call UCLA grad student Adam Greenberg at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Countdown to Jupiter

0:00 | Jun 28th, 2016

Juno will enter Jupiter orbit on July 4th. Mat Kaplan talks with the mission’s Principal Investigator, Scott Bolton at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Bill Nye helps prepare us for this exciting encounter and the science that will follow.

OSIRIS REx: Ready for a Voyage to Bennu

0:00 | Jun 21st, 2016

OSIRIS-REx will launch toward Near Earth Asteroid Bennu soon. In an early celebration of Asteroid Day, mission leader Dante Lauretta tells us how learning about asteroids may teach us about our own origins, and help us avoid a cataclysmic impact.

JunoCam, The People’s Jupiter Camera

0:00 | Jun 14th, 2016

The Juno spacecraft will enter orbit at Jupiter on July 4th. It carries a camera that will send back spectacular images from just above the swirling clouds of that mighty planet. Planetary scientist Candy Hansen will tell us how we can help decide wh...Show More

Chris McKay, Larry Niven and Andy Weir at the Contact Conference

0:00 | Jun 7th, 2016

Space art and science fiction joined science fact at the 2016 Contact Conference in Sunnyvale, California. We talk with three well-known visionaries.

Space Policy Edition #1: How We Got Here: Human Spaceflight at the End of the Obama Era

0:00 | Jun 3rd, 2016

In the premiere of this new monthly series we briefly examine the latest move by the House of Representatives in the game of NASA's budget and then discuss what Lockheed Martin's new "Mars Base Camp" proposal takes from The Society's Humans Orbiting ...Show More

Getting Humans to Mars

0:00 | May 31st, 2016

Three NASA leaders talk with host Mat Kaplan about the progress we're making toward leaving footprints on the Red Planet.

A Big Test for LightSail 2

0:00 | May 24th, 2016

The Planetary Society’s solar sail spacecraft was in the middle of a critical test as we spoke with the Society’s Bruce Betts and Jason Davis.

NASA’s Science Leader John Grunsfeld

0:00 | May 17th, 2016

John Grunsfeld closes our coverage of the Space Foundation’s 32nd annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. We also meet the leaders of the New Generation Space Leaders Program.

Dream Chaser: The Return of the Spaceplane

0:00 | May 10th, 2016

We’re back at Space Symposium for a conversation with SNC’s Mark Sirangelo, leader of that company’s effort to build the Dream Chaser. We’ll also hear a few moments of Bill Nye’s session at the annual gathering as he hosted Bernard Foing and Amy Main...Show More

At Space Symposium With the Leader of the European Space Agency

0:00 | May 3rd, 2016

The annual Space Symposium in Colorado is a must-attend event for space leaders from around the world. Our coverage begins with United Arab Emirates Space Agency Director General Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, and then moves to ESA Director General Jan W...Show More

A Death Valley Conversation About Life, The Universe and Everything With Tyler Nordgren and Jill Tarter

0:00 | Apr 26th, 2016

Beautiful Death Valley National Park was the setting for a fascinating conversation with famed SETI researcher Jill Tarter and celebrated astronomer, artist and photographer Tyler Nordgren.

Exploring Europa and Mining Asteroids at Yuri’s Night

0:00 | Apr 19th, 2016

Our special coverage from the Los Angeles Yuri’s Night party continues with Chris Lewicki of Planetary Resources along with Bob Pappalardo and Boback “Mohawk Guy” Ferdowsi who are preparing an orbiter for Jupiter’s ocean world Europa.

Celebrating Yuri’s Night 2016 with Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

0:00 | Apr 12th, 2016

Happy Yuri’s Night! We’re partying under Space Shuttle Endeavour in the first of two shows featuring interviews from the worldwide celebration of space. Star Trek’s Robert Picardo will talk about his new video newsletter, the Planetary Post, and we’l...Show More

Michel Mayor, Discoverer of the First Extrasolar World

0:00 | Apr 5th, 2016

Michel Mayor and his team rocked the astronomy world with their 1995 announcement, but this modest man says it was a discovery whose time had come.

Ashwin Vasavada, Leader of Scientists Roving Mars

0:00 | Mar 29th, 2016

The new Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist is not new to the mission. Ashwin Vasavada has worked on the Curiosity rover since 2004.

Planetary Radio Live: All These Worlds…

0:00 | Mar 22nd, 2016

Our live conversation about “Planet 9” and the amazing diversity of our solar system, featuring Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of Caltech, Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker.

Neil Gehrels and WFIRST—A Space Telescope for the 2020s

0:00 | Mar 15th, 2016

NASA has given the go-ahead for creation of the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope. It might help reveal the nature of dark energy and point the way to life among the stars.

HERA Heroine Julielynn Wong and Printing Medical Tools in Deep Space

0:00 | Mar 8th, 2016

Julielynn Wong came directly from her 30-day long HERA IX deep space simulation to our microphone. We talk with her about the experience, and her progress toward 3D medical device printing solutions for astronauts and Earthbound humans.

Interstellar Dreams: Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Aurora”

0:00 | Mar 1st, 2016

Famed science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson is back with Aurora, a cautionary tale about just how difficult interstellar travel may be.

Exploring Saturn With Cassini

0:00 | Feb 23rd, 2016

Cassini Mission Project Scientist Linda Spilker returns with the latest discoveries at the beautiful ringed planet, its moons and its rings.

Planetary Radio Extra: Our Space Policy Experts Analyze NASA's Proposed 2017 Budget

0:00 | Feb 23rd, 2016

Casey Dreier, the Planetary Society's Director of Space Policy, and Jason Callahan, the Society's Space Policy Advisor, talk with Mat Kaplan about the just-released "President's Budget Request" for the fiscal year starting in October of 2016.

Zero-G With OK Go!

0:00 | Feb 16th, 2016

OK Go has gone where no band has gone before to make a music video. Mat talks with Damian Kulash and Tim Nordwind about the hazards, thrill and promise of making art in free fall.

Planet 9 From Outer Space!

0:00 | Feb 9th, 2016

Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin fully expect a new and undemotable ninth planet will be found in the outer reaches of the solar system. The Caltech researchers talk about their findings and much more.

Planetary Radio Extra: LightSail Update

0:00 | Feb 9th, 2016

The Planetary Society's Bruce Betts and Jason Davis join host Mat Kaplan for a status report on LightSail 2, the Society's next solar sail, now being prepared for launch as soon as late this year.

NASA’s New Planetary Defense Office

0:00 | Feb 2nd, 2016

Lindley Johnson has just been named NASA's first Planetary Defense Officer. He's joined on this week's PlanRad by astronomer Kelly Fast, the new manager of the Near Earth Object Observation Program.

Civilizations Among the Clustered Stars?

0:00 | Jan 26th, 2016

New research indicates that globular clusters—collections of up to a million stars—could provide stable environments for life, along with opportunities for interstellar civilizations. Lead author Rosanne Di Stefano joins us to explain.

Marc Rayman’s Dawn Mission Update

0:00 | Jan 19th, 2016

The Dawn Mission Chief Engineer Marc Rayman returns for another report on the ion-engine powered mission, now orbiting 240 miles above dwarf planet Ceres in the Asteroid Belt.

Master of the Moon Rocks: NASA Astromaterials Curator Francis McCubbin

0:00 | Jan 12th, 2016

Francis McCubbin is the new Astromaterials Curator at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the priceless collection includes the Apollo moonrocks. Join host Mat Kaplan's visit.

Planetary Radio Extra: Planetary Society Experts 2015 Review

0:00 | Jan 5th, 2016

Bruce Betts, Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla gather with Mat Kaplan for a fascinating and informative Planetary Radio Extra year-in-review roundtable discussion.

Planetary Radio Extra: Ad Astra Rocket Company Audio Tour

0:00 | Jan 5th, 2016

Ad Astra's Mark Carter took Planetary Radio Host Mat Kaplan on a great tour of the company's facility in mid-November of 2015. Space and science geeks are going to love this mostly unedited audio recording.

Ad Astra Builds “The Martian’s” Rocket Engine

0:00 | Jan 5th, 2016

Mat Kaplan visits the Ad Astra Rocket Company in Texas where they are perfecting the VASIMIR electric rocket engine. Emily Lakdawalla has created a comprehensive timeline tracing missions throughout the solar system. Bill Nye salutes Planetary Societ...Show More

2015: A Great Year for Space Exploration

0:00 | Dec 29th, 2015

Our year-end review features the “best of 2015” lists from Jason Davis, Casey Dreier, Emily Lakdawalla and Bill Nye the Science Guy. What’s Up offers planets, a comet, and a nice prize package for the space trivia contest.

Planetary Radio Extra: Casey Dreier on the 2016 NASA Budget

0:00 | Dec 22nd, 2015

Mat Kaplan sits down with our Director of Advocacy, Casey Dreier, for a discussion of NASA's 2016 budget.

Congressman John Culberson on a Good Day for Space

0:00 | Dec 22nd, 2015

The newly-approved federal budget includes great news for fans of space exploration and development. Texas Congressman John Culberson led the fight for a Europa mission, the SLS rocket, commercial crew and more. He tells us why on this week’s show.

Field Test: Planetary Deep Drill

0:00 | Dec 15th, 2015

Drilling through many meters of ice to Europa’s ocean or to the pristine sub-surface layers of Mars will be hard. The Planetary Deep Drill prototype has shown that it may be a practical approach. Join Mat Kaplan and Planetary Society colleagues at th...Show More

A Journey to Space

0:00 | Dec 8th, 2015

Journey to Space is both a new and spectacular IMAX movie and an exciting, hands-on exhibition at the California Science Center. We learn about both this week.