Planetary Radio

Series produced by Mat Kaplan

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The Planetary Society's travel show that takes you to the final frontier, featuring commentary by Society CEO Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Public radio's only long format, weekly series devoted to space exploration and the scientists, engineers, astronauts and visionaries who lead it. Most episodes include an in-depth interview along with regular segments that incude:

Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye the Science Guy's weekly commentaries...Emily Lakdawalla's Snapshots From Space...What's Up! (...in the night sky, with other fun and intriguing space info and a weekly contest.)

Several episodes each year are recorded live before an enthusiastic audience, often with live music. We also cover special space events, like the landing of the Curiosity Mars Rover, and take listeners to the places where scientists learn about the cosmos, like Chile's Atacama Desert.

Episodes are available from the PRSS each Tuesday on channel A68.5, from 1600-1630 Eastern. We also make a 128kb MP3 available to stations at our website.

Every week, Planetary Radio visits with a scientist, engineer, astronaut, project manager, advocate, visionary or writer who can provide a unique perspective on the quest for knowledge about our solar system and beyond. We also showcase regular features that raise your space IQ while they put a smile on your face.

Past guests have included Buzz Aldrin, Sally Ride, X Prize Founder Peter Diamandis, Ray Bradbury, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Steve Squyres of the Mars Exploration Rover Project, Galileo's Daughter author Dava Sobel, interplanetary volcano expert Rosaly Lopes, the European Space Agency's Bernard Foing and scores of other leaders.

Each episode also includes an irreverent look at the current night sky with astronomer and Planetary Society Director of Projects Bruce Betts. These "What's Up!" segments also include a Random Space Fact, This Week in Space History, and our popular weekly space trivia contest.

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Public radio's only long format, weekly series devoted to space exploration and the scientists, engineers, astronauts and visionaries who lead it. Most episodes include an in-depth interview along with regular segments that incude: Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye the Science Guy's weekly commentaries...Emily Lakdawalla's Snapshots From Space...What's Up! (...in the night sky, with other fun and intriguing space info and a weekly contest.) Several episodes each year are recorded live before an enthusiastic audience, often with live music. We also cover special space events, like the landing of the Curiosity Mars Rover, and take listeners to the places where scientists learn about the cosmos, like Chile's Atacama Desert. Episodes are available from the PRSS each Tuesday on channel... Show full description


387 Pieces

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Caption: This illustration shows the events that occur in the final minutes of the nearly seven-month journey that NASA's Perseverance rover takes to Mars. Hundreds of critical events must execute perfectly and exactly on time for the rover to land on Mars safely , Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
JPL engineer Gregory Villar prepares us for the perilous descent and landing of the 2020 Mars rover on February 18th.

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  • Added: Jan 20, 2021
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Volcano Loki Patera erupts on Jupiter's moon Io. Io inspired the first movement of The Moons Symphony., Credit: NASA
Composer Amanda Lee Falkenberg is joined by Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker and retired astronaut Nicole Stott as she shares excerpts from ...

Bought by KWMR, KBUT Crested Butte, Colo., WMUU-LP, KRZA, KIYU-FM and more


  • Added: Jan 13, 2021
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Artist concept of the Solar Cruiser sail approaching the Sun, though it won't actually get nearly this close., Credit: NASA
NASA has given the green light to Principal Investigator Les Johnson and his team for construction of a solar sail that dwarfs all that have come b...

Bought by WFHB, Harford Community Radio, KWMR, KBUT Crested Butte, Colo., KRZA and more


  • Added: Jan 05, 2021
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley are all smiles after safely returning to Earth aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon on 2 August 2020. The mission, Demo-2, was the first crewed flight of NASA's Commercial Crew program., Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
In spite of everything, 2020 was a good year for space exploration according to five of The Planetary Society’s experts.

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  • Added: Dec 30, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Artist concept of the Perseverance rover examining an outcrop on Mars., Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH
Making oxygen from the Martian atmosphere will be essential if humans are ever to visit and work on the Red Planet, and the MOXIE experiment will s...

Bought by WGHC-LP 98.3 FM Chicago, WFHB, KWMR, KCNP, KBUT Crested Butte, Colo. and more


  • Added: Dec 16, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: China's Chang'e-5 lunar lander makes an impression on the Moon., Credit: PRC
Bill Nye helps us welcome the Planetary Society’s new president who also leads a new Moon mission, while China’s lunar sample return spacecraft is ...

Bought by WFHB, KWMR, KCNP, WMUU-LP, KRZA and more


  • Added: Dec 09, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: The great radio telescope at Arecibo in better days., Credit: NSF/UCF
Host Mat Kaplan talked with the Arecibo Observatory director just hours before the giant radio telescope came crashing down.

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  • Added: Dec 02, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: This illustration highlights the Moon’s Clavius Crater with an illustration depicting water trapped in the lunar soil there, along with an image of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) that found sunlit lunar water., Credit: NASA/Daniel Rutter
Astronomer Jane Greaves returns with an update on the phosphine gas floating above Venus, before Casey Honnibal takes us through her team’s discove...

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  • Added: Nov 25, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured these sand ripples and the large dune (at center) on Feb. 9, 2009. Color has been added to make textures easier to see., Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH
Two pioneering Mars orbiters are still doing great work above the Red Planet, while the first operational Crew Dragon spaceship has delivered four ...

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  • Added: Nov 18, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: An artist's impression of a gravitational microlensing event by a free-floating planet., Credit: Jan Skowron / Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw
A distant, lonely planet has been discovered as it wanders the galaxy, while Bill Nye helps us celebrate selection of a radically-simple sample col...

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  • Added: Nov 10, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Artist impression of TransAstra spacecraft., Credit: TransAstra Corporation
Joel Sercel believes we are entering an era in which asteroid mining and other commercial development of space are imminent, but he’s concerned abo...

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  • Added: Nov 04, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: TOUCHDOWN ON ASTEROID BENNU! Rocks fly off asteroid Bennu after NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touched the surface to collect a sample on 20 October 2020. The sample head touched Bennu's surface for 6 seconds while a bottle of nitrogen gas stirred rocks and, Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
The leader of the OSIRIS REx asteroid sample return mission shares more details of last week’s encounter in an exclusive interview, while we also l...

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  • Added: Oct 27, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: That's asteroid Bennu on the left. It's actually far smaller than Venus, revealed on the right by radar., Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft appears to have collected its first sample from asteroid Bennu, while a team led by Jane Greaves has discovered what coul...

Bought by C89.5 - KNHC Seattle, WFHB, KWMR, KBUT Crested Butte, Colo., KCNP and more


  • Added: Oct 21, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: The moon and Earth's edge, photgraphed from the International Space Station., Credit: NASA
Creators of an outstanding new collection of poems about spaceflight and exploration join Mat Kaplan to talk about the book as Bill Nye and other n...

Bought by WFHB, KMRE-LP Bellingham, Wash., RadioStPete Florida, KWMR, KBUT Crested Butte, Colo. and more


  • Added: Oct 14, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: In this image taken on May 20, 2020 at the Kennedy Space Center, engineers and technicians insert 39 sample tubes into the belly of the Perseverance Mars rover. Each tube is sheathed in a gold-colored cylindrical enclosure to protect it from contamination, Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH
NASA’s planetary protection officer joined Mat Kaplan’s Humans to Mars summit panel for a great conversation about protecting worlds throughout the...

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  • Added: Oct 06, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: An artist's impression of the fully-deployed James Webb Space Telescope, planned for launch in 2021., Credit: NASA
Astronomer and planetary scientist Heidi Hammel’s AURA shines bright across our solar system and beyond.

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  • Added: Sep 30, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla in the JPL clean room as Perseverance, the Mars 2020 rover, was being readied for launch., Credit: Mat Kaplan
Planetary Society Solar System Specialist Emily Lakdawalla makes a big announcement, and share stories from her long history with the organization.

Bought by KMRE-LP Bellingham, Wash., KWMR, KCNP, KBUT Crested Butte, Colo., KRZA and more


  • Added: Sep 23, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Artist's impression of Venus, with an inset showing a representation of the phosphine molecules detected in the high cloud decks., Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser / L. Calçada & NASA / JPL / Caltech
It could be a profound and historic discovery made on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor.

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  • Added: Sep 16, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Dwarf planet Ceres is shown in these false-color renderings, which highlight differences in surface materials., Credit: NASA/JPL-CalTech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Former Dawn mission director Marc Rayman of JPL reveals the secrets of the bright spots on dwarf planet Ceres, and we celebrate his 10 years as Pla...

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  • Added: Sep 09, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: A mosaic of 102 Viking orbiter images of Mars, showing a hemisphere of the planet centered on the immense Valles Marineris canyon system. Prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey. , Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS
Georgetown University planetary scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson chronicles the long history of our fascination with Mars and the possibility of lif...

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  • Added: Sep 02, 2020
  • Length: 28:50
  • Purchases: 10