Planetary Radio: Space Exploration, Astronomy and Science

The Planetary Society

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 while they put a smile on your face. Join host Sarah Al-Ahmed and Planetary Society colleagues including Bill Nye the Science Guy and Bruce Betts as they dive deep into space science and exploration. The monthly Space Policy Edition takes you inside the DC beltway where the future of the US space program hangs in the balance. Visit planetary.org/radio for an episode guide and much more.

  • 54 minutes 30 seconds
    A big year for heliophysics and Parker Solar Probe

    Our Sun is nearing the most active part of its solar cycle. This week, we explore recent solar activity and discoveries from NASA's Parker Solar Probe with Nour Rawafi, the mission's project scientist. But first, we honor the life and legacy of Ed Stone, the former director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the longtime project scientist of the Voyager mission. We close out our show with Bruce Betts, the chief scientist of The Planetary Society, in What's Up. 

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2024-parker-solar-probe

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    19 June 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 1 hour 1 minute
    The nova and the naming contest

    Last week was a big one for commercial space. Our senior communications advisor, Mat Kaplan, discusses the first crewed Boeing Starliner test and SpaceX Starship launch. Then Asa Stahl, our science editor, lets you know how to observe the upcoming nova in Corona Borealis. RadioLab's Latif Nasser returns to Planetary Radio with a new public naming contest for a quasi-moon of Earth. Then, we dive into some naming conventions for space objects in What's Up with our chief scientist, Bruce Betts.

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2024-nova-and-naming-contest

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    12 June 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 1 hour 9 minutes
    Space Policy Edition: Is Human Spaceflight a Religion?

    Holy texts and salvation ideology. Saints and martyrs. True believers and apostates. This isn’t a religion — this is human spaceflight. So says Roger Launius, NASA’s former Chief Historian, in his 2013 paper Escaping Earth: Human Spaceflight as Religion. For the start of our ninth year of the Space Policy Edition, Dr. Launius joins the show to discuss the ways in which human spaceflight exhibits characteristics commonly seen in modern religions, how his thesis has evolved in the past decade with the rise of Elon Musk and his view of Mars as humanity’s salvation, and how exploring secular activities through a religious lens can be instructive in understanding their adherents and support.


    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/spe-human-spaceflight-as-religion

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    7 June 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 56 minutes 16 seconds
    Accidental astronomy

    Astronomical and planetary science discoveries often unfold in strange and serendipitous ways. We discuss the delightfully unpredictable nature of space discoveries with Chris Lintott, author of the upcoming book "Accidental Astronomy: How Random Discoveries Shape the Science of Space." Then, Bruce Betts, our chief scientist, gives us a new way to think about the scale of our Solar System in What's Up. 

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2024-accidental-astronomy

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    5 June 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 56 minutes 20 seconds
    International integration: The path from the Moon to Mars

    Every year, Explore Mars hosts the Humans to Mars Summit, a gathering of people from around the world who want to advance human exploration of the Red Planet and beyond. This week on Planetary Radio, we share a conversation from the summit about integrating NASA and its partners as humanity looks to build a permanent and sustainable human presence on Mars. You'll hear from Mat Kaplan (The Planetary Society's senior communications advisor) and representatives of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), and the commercial space industry. Then, we'll check in with Bruce Betts, the chief scientist of The Planetary Society, for What's Up and a new random space fact.

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2024-h2m-international-integration

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    29 May 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 57 minutes 46 seconds
    Bot battles and space dreams

    As humanity aims to explore new frontiers in space, the need for good roboticists has never been greater. Robotics leagues and competitions offer a gateway into the field, connecting aspiring engineers with a vibrant community where enthusiasts can learn to accomplish their space dreams. Kelly Biderman, the CEO of Havoc Robotics, joins Planetary Radio to share how the National Havoc Robot League helps to prepare the next generation of space engineers. Then we hear from Florence Pouya, the former captain of the Afghan Girls Robotics Team, as she shares her insights with our senior communications adviser, Mat Kaplan, during their time at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, D.C. Stick around for What's Up with Bruce Betts and a new random space fact.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    22 May 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 54 minutes 29 seconds
    Day of Action 2024: The Planetary Society goes to Washington

    Every year, passionate space advocates from the United States travel to Washington, D.C., to ensure that their vision for the future of space exploration gets the funding and support it needs. Nearly 100 advocates gathered this year on Monday, April 29, 2024, to call for increased funding and better support for NASA's groundbreaking science programs. This week on Planetary Radio, we'll share what happened during this year's Day of Action and why it matters. You'll hear from members of The Planetary Society staff, space advocates from across the United States, and various congresspeople, including the co-chairs of the Congressional Planetary Science Caucus, Representatives Don Bacon and Judy Chu. We close out our show with Bruce Betts for What's Up and a new random space fact.

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2024-day-of-action

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    15 May 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 50 minutes 49 seconds
    TARDIS Talk: Space, Time, and “Doctor Who” with Russell T. Davies

    This week on Planetary Radio, we celebrate the longest-running science fiction show in history, “Doctor Who.” We explore how this iconic series has influenced the scientific community and look forward to the new season of the show with Russell T. Davies, the past and present showrunner of “Doctor Who.” Then, space fans from around the world share how the show has impacted their lives and space careers. We close out with Bruce Betts, our chief scientist, as we discuss what we would do with a time machine in What's Up.

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2024-tardis-talk

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    8 May 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
    Space Policy Edition: The power of the lunar sublime

    Should policymakers spend more time looking — really looking — at the Moon? Chris Cokinos thinks so. He is the author of the new book, Still As Bright: An Illuminating History of the Moon, from Antiquity to Tomorrow, which explores the role of our nearest celestial neighbor in culture, art, and our dreams of space exploration over the course of human history. It’s about the power of looking and seeing something beyond what you’d expect.

    But the conversation goes beyond that. We discuss the role of the sublime in our everyday lives, how to find beauty in the quotidian, the role of language in conveying the beauty and power of space, and even why he thinks landing cremains on the Moon is disrespectful.

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/the-moon-still-as-bright-chris-cokinos

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    3 May 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 59 minutes 55 seconds
    Europa Clipper’s message in a bottle

    NASA's Europa Clipper mission is almost ready for its historic trip to the Jovian system. Merc Boyan, a visual storyteller at The Planetary Society, takes us into the clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to speak with team members about the spacecraft. Then Bob Pappalardo, project scientist for Europa Clipper, visits The Planetary Society headquarters in Pasadena, CA, to share the story of the mission's vault plate, humanity's next collection of messages to another world. Bruce Betts, the Planetary Society chief scientist, closes out this week's show in What's Up, discussing his favorite messages from Earth.

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2024-europa-clipper-message-in-a-bottle 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    1 May 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 1 hour 36 minutes
    Eclipse-O-Rama

    On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse passed over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. This week on Planetary Radio, we take a trip to The Planetary Society’s Eclipse-O-Rama festival in Fredericksburg, Texas, where hundreds gathered to witness totality. We share the reactions of festival attendees along with snippets from the talks given by special guests at the event, including Bill Nye, the CEO of The Planetary Society, Bethany Ehlmann, president of The Planetary Society and principal investigator for the NASA Lunar Trailblazer mission, and Bee Hayes-Thakore, Vice President of Marketing at Kigen and member of The Planetary Society's board of directors. Tim Dodd, better known as the Everyday Astronaut, and Bob Pflugfelder, popularly known as Science Bob, share their experiences. Bruce Betts, the chief scientist of The Planetary Society, tells us about the solar features people may have seen during the eclipse in What's Up. Then we get an update on the Mars Sample Return mission with Casey Dreier, The Planetary Society's chief of space policy, and Jack Kiraly, our director of government relations.

    Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2024-eclipse-o-rama

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    24 April 2024, 3:00 pm
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