July 1, 2020
The leader of the Mastcam-Z team talks about how the best cameras ever on the surface of Mars will help us explore a region that could once have supported life.
June 24, 2020
China has big plans for a space station, exploration of the Moon and Mars, and possibly a mission that will follow Voyager beyond the edge of the solar system.
June 17, 2020
Sail on! Leaders of the LightSail 2 mission join 50,000 supporters in celebration of a year in space.
June 10, 2020
Are we learning how to keep men and women alive on a 3-year round trip to Mars?
June 5, 2020
The safe arrival of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon at the International Space Station is a huge success for NASA and policymakers who gambled years ago on the value of commercial partnerships for the agency.
June 3, 2020
After a special message we present highlights of the successful arrival at the International Space Station of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, followed by a visit to chilly Mars with planetary scientist Edgard Rivera-Valentin.
May 27, 2020
Astrophysicist and former astronaut John “Hubble Repairman” Grunsfeld looks back over three decades of beautiful science and inspiration delivered by the Hubble Space Telescope.
May 20, 2020
Former astronaut Garrett Reisman helped lead development of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that is about to carry astronauts to the International Space Station.
May 13, 2020
JPL scientist Kevin Hand is endlessly fascinated by the possibility of life in the hidden oceans of the outer solar system’s moons, and now he has written a great book about the quest to discover it.
May 6, 2020
American astronauts are about to fly from Florida to the International Space Station for the first time in nine years, thanks to the commercial space development initiative advocated for years by Lori Garver.
May 1, 2020
Philosopher James Schwartz shares his thoughts about the ethics of space exploration and settlement.
April 29, 2020
The search for life on Mars is at a critical stage. What will come next if we find it?
April 22, 2020
Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Royal Astronomical Society and the life of the late astronomer Margaret Burbidge.
April 15, 2020
The U.S. space agency’s leader describes how NASA is responding to the pandemic crisis as it works to keep projects and missions on track.
April 8, 2020
One of Earth’s lowliest creatures has inspired and guided a team of scientists toward an improved model for the distribution of galaxies and dark matter across the cosmos.
April 3, 2020
Join The Planetary Society’s policy team, including Bill Nye, for highlights of a members-only live briefing that shared our analysis of how the coronavirus pandemic may affect space exploration.
April 1, 2020
Our look ahead at the near-future of solar system exploration continues with Mars, the giant outer worlds, and the smaller bodies that can be found throughout the neighborhood.
March 25, 2020
Six scientists give us a preview of where planetary science may be taken in the next 10 years by a new NASA decadal survey.
March 18, 2020
Civil engineer Peter Carrato believes we know how to use what’s available on Mars to build the human structures that will be needed by the first explorers.
March 11, 2020
Cosmos has returned under the steady hand of Ann Druyan. We’ll talk with her about the third season of the television series and her companion book.
March 6, 2020
NASA’s fiscal year 2021 budget request contains lots of good news along with a few disappointments. How will Congress weigh in?
March 4, 2020
The founder of Astronomers Without Borders brings the organization’s leader in Nigeria to the Planetary Radio microphones.
February 26, 2020
The search for worlds like our own is underway, but the challenges are enormous according to astronomers Debra Fischer and Joe Llama.
February 19, 2020
Physicist and author Paul Davies returns to talk about his new book that explores the defining role information plays in life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere.
February 12, 2020
Another near Earth-sized planet has been found in the habitable zone around a distant star, discovered by a powerful space telescope named TESS.
February 7, 2020
Casey and his guest discuss a bill working its way through the US House of Representatives that challenges the Artemis plan adopted by NASA for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.
February 5, 2020
Leaders of the just-ended Spitzer Space Telescope mission help us celebrate sixteen years of discoveries about our solar system, exoplanets and galaxies nearly as old as the universe itself.
January 29, 2020
Juno mission principal investigator Scott Bolton provides an enticing taste of the Jupiter orbiter’s mind-bending discoveries.
January 22, 2020
OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta takes us to mysterious asteroid Bennu where a first sample collection site has been selected.
January 15, 2020
Planetary scientist Jim Bell and space entrepreneur Lon Levin are founders of a new non-profit that aims to make robotic space exploration much more achievable by institutions around the world.
January 10, 2020
Legislation signed by President Trump in December formally established the 6th branch of the U.S. armed services, the first such expansion in 72 years. What exactly will the new Space Force do?
January 8, 2020
Host Mat Kaplan and Planetary Society solar system specialist Emily Lakdawalla go inside NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory clean room to see the Mars 2020 rover.
January 1, 2020
Planetary Society experts Jason Davis, Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla join host Mat Kaplan to recap the big space moments of 2019 and explore what's ahead in 2020.
December 25, 2019
Planetary Society board member and Caltech/JPL research scientist Bethany Ehlmann discusses how the Mars 2020 mission will search for life on the Red Planet.
December 18, 2019
We talk with two of our 2019 Shoemaker NEO Grant winners, who received funding to help find, track, and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids.
December 11, 2019
Get ready for season 4 of The Expanse with Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who write the books and co-produce the shows under the name James S. A. Corey.
December 6, 2019
The most impactful space policy decisions and outcomes across the last ten years.
December 4, 2019
Chris Carberry traces the history and future of alcohol in space through his new book.
November 27, 2019
Organizations are using the microgravity environment of the International Space Station to develop unique new products,
November 20, 2019
Looking for the perfect space book or gift for your favorite space fans? We’ve got the lists.
November 13, 2019
A feisty, fun conversation with the leader of the Cassini imaging team, and an audio tour of the transit of Mercury with astronomer Jay Pasachoff.
November 6, 2019
Astrophysicist Javier Peralta takes us deep into the thick, fast-moving clouds of the world that is still called Earth sister by some.
November 1, 2019
How can a simple report—just words on a page—lead to creation of a spacecraft?
October 30, 2019
Mat Kaplan talks with Sasha Sagan about For Small Creatures Such as We
October 23, 2019
Planetary scientist Briony Horgan and her team want to know how long liquid water flowed on the surface of the Red Planet before that world froze.
October 16, 2019
Mat Kaplan visits with NIAC Program Executive Jason Derleth, seven leaders of funded studies, and astronaut Mae Jemison.
October 11, 2019
Brendan Curry, The Planetary Society's Chief of D.C. Operations, joins the show to discuss the latest political developments in Washington, good news for planetary defense, and how the funding delay could spell trouble for the space agency's 2024 lunar goal.
October 9, 2019
Astronomer and astrophysicist Michel Mayor has just been awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for physics.
October 2, 2019
Planetary scientist Vishnu Reddy shares the status of our effort to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs.
September 25, 2019
Brad Pitt sets out across the solar system to save Earth in the new space epic.
September 18, 2019
The biannual Starship Congress attracts starry-eyed believers in humankind’s destiny among the stars.
September 11, 2019
The Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico gave the Voyager spacecraft their power sources, is building nuclear generators for future Martians, and accidentally invented the field of High Energy Astrophysics.
September 6, 2019
As NASA struggles to return humans to the Moon by 2024, it's worth asking: why did it stop in the first place?
September 4, 2019
Update on the Mars Helicopter, and a top-level review of the amazing science sent home from comet 67P by Rosetta.
August 28, 2019
Astrobotic is one of several companies that are building small, robotic landers to take commercial payloads to the surface of the Moon.
August 21, 2019
Rick Davis is the perfect person to co-lead NASA’s Mars Human Landing Sites Study
August 14, 2019
Host Mat Kaplan in a long and fascinating conversation with Nicholas de Monchaux, author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo
August 7, 2019
Join Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye and host Mat Kaplan as they visit Oklahoma City’s outstanding public science museum. You’ll meet University of Oklahoma researchers who are exploring Mars and learning how solar systems form across the universe. And we’ll hear about the Sooner state’s huge role in our exploration of the final frontier. Learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
August 2, 2019
Did the public support Project Apollo? Dr. Emily Margolis joins the show to explore the domestic politics and cultural impact of the space age throughout the 1960s. Despite the success of the lunar landings, there was more opposition to Apollo than we generally remember. Chief Advocate Casey Dreier also provides an update on some important developments in the U.S. Congress on the eve of their August recess—including some potentially good budget news for NASA. More resources about this month’s topics are at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
July 31, 2019
It will be the first flying machine on another world. Mars Helicopter Project Manager MiMi Aung shares her plans. There’s big news about The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2! You’ll hear it from embedded reporter Jason Davis and from LightSail Program Manager Bruce Betts, along with Bruce’s regular What’s Up look at the night sky. Learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
July 24, 2019
Join us as the little cubesat successfully unfurls its solar sail. You’ll hear from members of the LightSail 2 mission team on the morning of July 23, 2019, when the critical command was sent to the spacecraft. Then we’ll congratulate Kris Zacny of Honeybee Robotics on the selection by NASA of the radically-simple PlanetVac sample collection system for a trip to the Moon. Learn more about both of this week’s topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
July 17, 2019
Poppy Northcutt was a pioneer—the first woman to work as an engineer in Apollo Mission Control. The program she helped to create got the astronauts back to Earth. Fifty years later, she sits down with Mat Kaplan for a look back. They are joined by JPL planetary scientist Rosaly Lopes who was inspired to become a STEM professional by Poppy.  You’ll also hear Apollo moonwalkers Buzz Aldrin and Charlie Duke at a 50th anniversary celebration, along with Casey Dreier’s introduction to The Planetary Society’s comprehensive Apollo at 50 resource. And we’ll get a LightSail 2 update from Bruce Betts. Learn more about all of this week’s topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
July 10, 2019
NASA has given the go-ahead for Dragonfly, a flying rotorcraft that will explore Saturn’s mysterious moon Titan. Mission Principal Investigator Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle helps us celebrate. Troy Hudson tells us about the ongoing effort to rescue the Mole on Mars lander InSight. And Bruce Betts provides the latest on LightSail 2’s attempt to sail on the light of the sun. Learn more about all of this week’s topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
July 5, 2019
Half a century has passed since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin imprinted humanity's first footsteps upon another world. Apollo 11 was the culmination of a decade's worth of fervent activity in which the United States marshaled resources and manpower at a pace not seen outside of warfare. Space historian Dr. Roger Launius joins the show to explain why Apollo happened the way it did, how a moonshot briefly became a solution to a national security problem, and why it is unlikely to happen again. Casey Dreier also provides a space policy update. More resources about this month’s topics are at more about your ad choices. Visit
July 3, 2019
A giant SpaceX Falcon Heavy lifted off in the early hours of June 25th. One week later, the LightSail 2 solar sail was released to begin its epic mission. You’ll join the thrilling launch, meet LightSail team members and leaders of other missions, and get a solar sail update in this very special episode. You’ll also get the chance to win an ISS Above system in the What’s Up space trivia contest! Learn more about all of this week’s topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 26, 2019
It has been many months since the great Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere and fiery death. Yet the mission lives on as the reams of data and images reveal much more of this beautiful world, its rings and its moons.  Project Scientist Linda Spilker is back with Mat to provide a fascinating update. We close with Bruce Betts and and a What’s Up segment that anticipates the mission of LightSail 2. Learn more about all of this week’s topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
June 19, 2019
The day is almost here. With the launch of a Falcon Heavy rocket, The Planetary Society will begin its mission to prove that a tiny, orbiting spacecraft can be propelled by the light of the Sun. Society Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Vaughn provides a passionate history of our efforts and reviews the opportunities for everyone to get involved. Then LightSail Program Manager Bruce Betts and Digital Editor Jason Davis will dig into this amazing mission and spacecraft. Society CEO Bill Nye will make the basics of solar sailing fun in his special presentation, right after this week’s What’s Up segment. Learn more about all of this week’s topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 12, 2019
Even though his own work led to it, Albert Einstein never cared for quantum mechanics concepts like entanglement, which he called “spooky action at a distance.” While there’s no doubt it is real, could something even more mysterious be hiding under it? We’ll talk with three eminent physicists and physicist/science fiction author David Brin about the Nova documentary on this subject. Planetary Society Chief Advocate Casey Dreier analyzes President Donald Trump’s recent tweet about the Moon and Mars, and Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla introduces a new edition of The Planetary Report, now available to all. You can learn more about all of this week’s topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
June 7, 2019
The U.S. won the space race in July of 1969 with the success of Apollo 11. But was the Soviet Union even racing? How close were they to beating the United States to the Moon? Soviet space historian Dr. Asif Siddiqi discusses the other side of the space race as we kick off our multi-part series of interviews celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. Planetary Society Chief of Washington Operations, Brendan Curry, also joins the show to catch up on the latest news about the White House proposal to return to the Moon by 2024. More resources about this month’s topics are at more about your ad choices. Visit
June 5, 2019
Jay Pasachoff visits Planetary Society headquarters for a conversation about the latest edition of his and Alex Filippenko’s monumental textbook The Cosmos. But that’s just the start of a discussion that explores solar astronomy, art and science, the history of astronomy and Jay’s nearly 60-year history of total solar eclipse observations.  The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 may look like LightSail 1, but Jason Davis tells us there are important differences between these spacecraft, beginning with their missions. What’s Up brings another opportunity to win Alan Stern’s great book, Chasing New Horizons in the space trivia contest.  You can learn more about all of this week’s topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
May 29, 2019
This year’s Humans to Mars Summit in Washington DC once again ended with a panel of Martian all-stars talking about their hopes for a future that includes the Red Planet. Planetary Radio host Mat Kaplan leads the inspiring and entertaining discussion. Emily Lakdawalla shows us the beautiful, sunlit clouds of Mars, while this week’s What’s Up segment gives Mat the job of singing the answer to our latest space trivia quiz. You can learn more about all of this week’s topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
May 22, 2019
The former Oklahoma congressman and Navy aviator stepped into the leadership role barely a year ago. Now he wants to see humans back on the Moon by 2024 as a vital stepping stone to Mars. Join us for a wide-ranging conversation about this ambitious plan and much more. Planetary Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts continues the countdown to launch of LightSail 2 before he takes us across the heavens in What’s Up. You can learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 17, 2019
Host Mat Kaplan has a special announcement to share about Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye. The Science Guy is on a mission to change the world— one phone call at a time. On his new podcast, Science Rules!, he tackles the curliest questions on just about anything in the universe. Perhaps you’ve wondered: Should I stop eating cheeseburgers to combat climate change? How often should I really be washing my pillowcase? Can I harvest energy from all those static-electricity shocks I get in the winter? Science Rules! Is out NOW - find it in your favorite podcast app. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 15, 2019
Mat Kaplan visits Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a last, clean room visit with LightSail 2, the Planetary Society’s solar sailing cubesat. While there, Mat also talked to attendees at the Cubesat Developers Workshop, including the creator of the tiny “Pocket Rocket” engine for small spacecraft. LightSail2 is now at the Air Force Research Lab for launch preparation, as we hear from Bruce Betts in this week’s What’s Up. You can learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 8, 2019
Leaders of the global effort to avoid a catastrophic Near Earth Object impact gathered at the 2019 Planetary Defense Conference. On the evening of May 1st, The Planetary Society partnered in an exciting PDC public event at the University of Maryland College Park. Presentations by Society CEO Bill Nye and NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green were followed by Planetary Radio Live. Join Mat Kaplan and his outstanding guests who are trying to save the world. The evening rolled on through a live version of What’s Up with Bruce Betts.You can learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
May 3, 2019
Thirty years ago, Dr. Mark Albrecht led the National Space Council when President George H.W. Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative, an ambitious effort to send humans to the Moon and then on to Mars. Political divisions and a budget-busting cost estimate grounded the effort before it ever got off the ground. A new NSC is attempting to implement a new lunar plan from the Trump Administration. Can the lessons of a failed moonshot help today's lunar ambitions succeed? More resources about this month’s topics are at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 1, 2019
There appear to be more mini-Neptunes (also known as Super Earths) across our galaxy than any other type of planet. Hannah Wakeford wants to learn if some of them support life, and she’s doing this by exploring their skies. Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, has reached an exciting and critical part of its mission of discovery. Senior editor Emily Lakdawalla provides an update. The beautiful Pasadena Public Library hosted Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan for a special afternoon that included recording this week’s What’s Up. You can learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
April 24, 2019
A rare alignment of planets and other objects will enable the solar-powered Lucy spacecraft to examine seven asteroids, six of which are among the thousands of Trojan asteroids that orbit ahead of and behind Jupiter. The mission team, include Hal Levison, Cathy Olkin and Mike Sekerak, hope to unlock secrets of our solar system’s origin through these ancient artifacts. Planetary Society correspondent Andrew Jones helps us celebrate China’s Space Day with an update on the Chang’e 4 lunar mission. The space trivia contest returns as just one cog in the universe-spanning machine called What’s Up. You can learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
April 17, 2019
The Beresheet lunar lander failed in the last few kilometers of its descent to the Moon. Two days later we learned that its team would try again. Deputy Mission Director Yoav Landsman is back with an inspiring and revealing look behind the scenes. Planetary Society Digital Editor Jason Davis looks forward to the launch of LightSail2 now that a second SpaceX Falcon Heavy has enjoyed spectacular success. And your guide to the busy night sky is provided by Bruce Betts. Special program note: Catch Mat Kaplan on the Discovery Channel documentary about Beresheet, Return to the Moon, Sunday, April 21st at 11:00am Eastern. You can learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 10, 2019
The Los Angeles celebration of Yuri’s Night came six days early this year. It attracted hundreds of space party animals, along with celebrities like Bill Nye and Story Musgrave. Host Mat Kaplan talked with both under the wing of space shuttle Endeavour. Jason Davis is counting down to Space IL’s attempt to soft land Beresheet on the Moon. “Where We Are” is a great new visual feature of the Planetary Society. Emily Lakdawalla introduces us to it. There’s a lot to see in the night sky! Get a What’s Up preview from Bruce Betts. You can learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
April 5, 2019
Can NASA return astronauts to the Moon by 2024? Vice President Mike Pence shocked the space community by announcing this ambitious new goal just weeks after the Trump Administration proposed a half-billion dollar cut to the space agency. Is the Administration fed up with the mounting delays to the Space Launch System rocket? How seriously should we take this declaration? Is it even possible given budget cuts and political dysfunction? Brendan Curry, Chief of Washington Operations for The Planetary Society, joins the show to explore these questions.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 3, 2019
When will we return to Uranus and Neptune? Planetary scientist Amy Simon explains why a mission to the so-called ice giants is a high priority as she tells us about these mysterious, blue worlds. Planetary Society Digital Editor Jason Davis takes us through what promises to be a very busy month in space, with the launch of the second Falcon Heavy, a moon landing by Israel’s Beresheet probe, and how Hayabusa2 will blow a hole in asteroid Ryugu, complete with sound effects. Then join us for another round of What’s Up in the Solar System. Learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 27, 2019
A very special, extended conversation with Johns Hopkins University planetary scientist Sarah Hörst is capped by a tour of her fascinating lab. That’s where Sarah and her team simulate decidedly un-Earthlike atmospheres and more. Emily Lakdawalla has returned from this year’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference with news from around the solar system. Caffeine! It’s on Saturn’s moon Titan AND in the espresso made on the International Space Station! More about the latter in What’s Up. Learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
March 20, 2019
Planetary Radio Live goes on stage at the first ever Fairplex Extreme STEAM Festival in Pomona, California. Host Mat Kaplan and Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye are joined by four young space scientists and engineers in front of hundreds of families. Chief Scientist Bruce Betts is also on hand for a live edition of What’s Up. The Amoeba People perform the Planetary Radio theme, along with their tribute to Carl Sagan.  Learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 13, 2019
The last few days have seen developments that will shape the space exploration plans of Canada and the USA. The Planetary Society’s Kate Howells is a member of Canada’s Space Advisory Board. She reviews the nation’s new space policy. Planetary Society Chief Advocate Casey Dreier takes us through highlights of the just-released NASA budget proposal from the White House. He also looks back at the Day of Action that brought citizen space advocates to Capitol Hill. Bruce Betts smells the coffee on the International Space Station in What’s Up. We close with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s passionate message for the Day of Action volunteers. Learn more about this week’s guests and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 6, 2019
With missions like Chang’e 4 on the far side of the Moon, China has firmly established itself as a leader in space exploration. Space journalist Andrew Jones helps us explore the nation’s ambitious near and long-term plans. Emily Lakdawalla says Mars lander InSight’s Mole has hit an obstacle, while Jason Davis shows us how Japan’s Hayabusa2 has blasted asteroid Ryugu for a sample and celebrates the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Chief Scientist Bruce Betts gets a polite dressing down from an impeccable source. Learn more about this week’s guest and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 1, 2019
Historian John Logsdon discusses his new book, Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier. It explores the legacy of the 40th president’s major space policy decisions. We look at four major topics: early efforts at commercializing space, the survival crisis for planetary exploration, the Space Shuttle, and the decision to build the space station. Casey also shares good news about NASA's newest budget and how a battle between rocket companies could spell trouble for NASA's Lucy mission. More resources to explore this month’s topics are at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 27, 2019
Non-profit SpaceIL’s Beresheet is on its way to the Moon. Only China, the Soviet Union and the United States have safely landed there before. Host Mat Kaplan talks with SpaceIL Senior Systems Engineer Yoav Landsman, while MaryLiz Bender hears from a team member who attended the launch.  Digital editor Jason Davis shares news about Hayabusa2’s successful touchdown on an asteroid. Want a rubber asteroid? You’ve got another chance to win one on this week’s What’s Up with Bruce Betts. Learn more about this week’s guest and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 20, 2019
The Mars Exploration Rover mission was declared complete on February 13, 2019. On the very next day, MER Project Manager John Callas and Deputy Project Scientist Abigail Fraeman came to Planetary Society headquarters for an extended and emotional conversation with Mat Kaplan and Emily Lakdawalla. They talked about the beloved rovers and the women and men of the team that has guided them for so many years. What’s Up offers another opportunity to win a coveted rubber asteroid as we learn about the night sky and more. Learn more about this week’s guest and topics at: more about your ad choices. Visit
February 13, 2019
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-solar systems is astounding. Principal investigator Sean Andrews will tell us how the pictures were created, and why they are surprising and delighting astronomers. Senior editor Emily Lakdawalla is literally looking back on objects around our own solar system. She tells us how backlit images reveal their secrets. The rubber asteroids have returned! You can win one in this week’s space trivia contest. Learn more about this week’s guest and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 6, 2019
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 Applied Physics Lab is the mission’s Coordination Lead. The Curiosity rover has reached an exciting new region of Mars. Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla will give us the lowdown. The night sky is full of treasures according to Bruce Betts. Join Bruce and Mat for this week’s What’s Up. Learn more about this week’s guest and topics at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 1, 2019
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 space capability and lunar ambitions to trigger a new space race. Not Dr. Roger Handberg, Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida. He discusses how the current geopolitical situation differs from the Cold War standoff between two superpowers, and how we shouldn't expect dollars to flow back to the U.S. space program as a consequence of China's space successes. Cooperation, or even friendly competition, is a much more likely outcome than a new space race. More resources to explore this month’s topics are at more about your ad choices. Visit
January 30, 2019
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 reviews the current thinking and provides some of the chemical basis for life as we know it, and possibly as we don’t know it. Planetary Society Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla explains why we don’t see stars in many images of bodies across the solar system, while Society CEO Bill Nye marks the end of the US government shutdown that has hampered so much science. Five more winners will receive copies of First Man in this week’s What’s Up space trivia contest. Learn more at: more about your ad choices. Visit
January 23, 2019
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 surface for collection of a pristine sample. Want one of five  Blu-ray copies of First Man, the movie about Neil Armstrong? Consider entering this week’s What’s Up space trivia contest that also offers Dante Lauretta’s two great board games about space exploration and astronomy. Learn more at: more about your ad choices. Visit
January 18, 2019
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 consequences to the public sector scientific workforce. Rob Hoyt, CEO of Tethers Unlimited, a small business in Washington state that was forced to lay off 20% of its workforce due to unpaid NASA contracts, describes the impact on contractors that may never see repayment or reimbursements. The Planetary Society has a petition to end the shutdown. More resources to explore this month’s topics are at\Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
January 16, 2019
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 Lakdawalla reports on Chang’e 4, China’s pioneering lander and rover on the far side of the Moon. Bruce and Mat answer a question that had no answer till New Horizons flew by Ultima Thule days ago. That’s part of this week’s What’s Up. Learn more at: more about your ad choices. Visit
January 9, 2019
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 Betts helps us prepare for the total lunar eclipse. Learn more at: more about your ad choices. Visit
January 2, 2019
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 Planetary Report. Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye helps us ring in the new year, while Bruce Betts leads the first What’s Up of 2019 with exciting news about the night sky. Learn more at: more about your ad choices. Visit
December 26, 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, Alan Stern. Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla takes us through 2018’s biggest planetary science and exploration moments.  The coolest asteroid defense stickers in the solar system could be yours if you win the new What’s Up space trivia contest.  Learn more at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 19, 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 tribute to--and chronicle of—the mission and the people who made it happen. The new edition of The Planetary Report is now available to all, according to Senior editor Emily Lakdawalla.  Planetary Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts also celebrates Apollo 8 in this week’s What’s Up.  Learn more at: more about your ad choices. Visit
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