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Planetary Radio

Planetary Radio

Each week, Planetary Radio visits with a scientist, engineer, project manager, astronaut, advocate or writer who provides a unique and exciting perspective on the exploration of our solar system and beyond. We also showcase regular features that raise your space IQ while they put a smile on your face.  Host Mat Kaplan is joined by Planetary Society colleagues Bill Nye the Science Guy, Bruce Betts, and Emily Lakdawalla. We hit the road now and then to produce a Planetary Radio Live show in front of an audience.  Drop us a line or enter the weekly space trivia contest at

Please support your local public radio station that airs the show! Check the station's online schedule or review our online list of affiliates. Satellite radio listeners can hear us Sunday evenings on the Sirius XM Public Radio channel.  Want to hear Planetary Radio on your local station? Ask them to contact us or review our radio affiliate information page.

iTunes and other podcast aggregators like Stitcher make it easy to listen and subscribe. Just search for "Planetary Radio." or click the links below.

Subscribe: Planetary Radio: Space Exploration, Astronomy and Science Standard RSS Feed

Recent Shows

A Small, Distant World: Kepler 138b

07/14/2015 | 28:50


SETI Institute scientist Jason Rowe returns to tell us about the smallest exoplanet so far that has had its size and mass determined. Jason also talks with Mat about our ever-expanding knowledge of these worlds that circle faraway stars.

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Emily Lakdawalla’s Pluto Preview

07/07/2015 | 28:50


  • Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist, The Planetary Society

Two visits with the Planetary Society Senior Editor this week, as Emily first provides an update on the Rosetta comet mission and then returns with an extended look ahead at the New Horizons Pluto encounter next week.

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Saving the Planet: Voices From the Planetary Defense Conference

06/30/2015 | 28:50


  • Linda Billings, Research Professor, George Washington University
  • James Burke, Project Manager, Ranger program
  • Paul Chodas, Manager, NASA NEO Program Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Tom Jones, Astronaut, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
  • Nahum Melamed, Project Manager, Aerospace Corporation
  • Jason Reinhardt, MacArthur Nuclear Security Predoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
  • Travis Brashears, Gould Law Student, University of Southern California
  • Philip Lubin, Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara

We’ve already brought you Planetary Radio Live from the 2015 PDC near Rome, Italy. Now you’ll hear a small sampling of the scientists, engineers, policymakers and media experts who spent five days considering how humanity will respond to a potentially disastrous threat. Bruce Betts celebrates the great Jupiter-Venus conjunction in What’s Up. Bill Nye and Emily Lakdawalla return next week.

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Exploring the Seas of Earth and Other Worlds

06/23/2015 | 28:50


We return to the beautiful Aquarium of the Pacific in southern California for a fascinating conversation about ocean science. What we learn down here is furthering our research around the solar system. William Patzert, Jerry Schubel and Steven Vance join Mat Kaplan on stage. Emily Lakdawalla tells us what Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, has been doing lately. Bruce Betts is keeping his eye on converging Jupiter and Venus.

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LightSail Triumphant! A Mission Press Conference

06/16/2015 | 28:50


  • Jim Bell, President of the Board of Directors, The Planetary Society
  • Bill Nye, Chief Executive Officer
  • Barbara Plante, Founder and President, Boreal Space
  • Rex Ridenoure, President and CEO, Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation
  • Doug Stetson, LightSail Project Manager, The Planetary Society

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.

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Cassini Update AND LightSail Spreads its Wings!

06/09/2015 | 28:50


  • Linda Spilker, Cassini Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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.

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Chris Carberry and Getting Humans to Mars

06/02/2015 | 28:50


Explore Mars revealed the 2015 Humans to Mars Report at a recent conference in Washington. CEO Chris Carberry gives us a quick tour of this inspiring assessment of what it will take to get more than robots to the Red Planet.

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The Launch of LightSail

05/26/2015 | 28:50


This special edition takes you behind the scenes on May 20, 2015 as LightSail is lifted into orbit. You’ll hear the thrilling launch, meet key team members as they prepare for the big moment, and hear a special status report from Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye.

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

05/19/2015 | 33:59


  • Marc Rayman, Dawn Chief Engineer and Mission Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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.

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Alan Stern and the Rise of Pluto

05/12/2015 | 28:50


  • Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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.

More Info & Listen »

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