Space, Storytelling, and Science Communication with Mat Kaplan

In this episode, we dive into the fascinating world of space exploration with our special guest, Mat Kaplan.

Mat is a seasoned radio host who recently stepped away from the mic after two decades and a thousand episodes of the Planetary Society’s acclaimed podcast, Planet Radio. In this interview, Mat shares his passion for science and space, his approach to presenting complex information to the public, and his secrets to conducting engaging interviews with renowned scientists, engineers, astronauts, and authors.

Main Discussion:

  • Learn about the Planetary Society, a professional home for space enthusiasts for over 22 years, and its programs and initiatives.
  • Explore the origins of the Planetary Society, founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Lou Friedman, with the mission to empower the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration.
  • Discover how the Planetary Society has evolved over the years, with tens of thousands of members, and a new generation of talented staff dedicated to their vision of knowing our cosmos and our place within it.
  • Hear about the Planetary Society’s contributions to space missions, including allowing the public to share in them by putting their names on plaques or CDs, and their efforts to shepherd missions through Congress by forming a caucus for planetary science and working with the Executive Branch.
  • Learn about the Planetary Society’s new initiatives, such as its online member community and book club, and its passion for sharing the beauty and joy of space and science with everyone on Earth.

Key Points:

  • Mat Kaplan’s inspiring body of work with Planet Mat Kaplan: Radio
  • How Mat combined his twin passions for radio and space exploration
  • Mat’s approach to presenting complicated information in an accessible and fascinating way
  • The importance of doing thorough research and homework before interviews
  • The art of listening and being prepared to change directions during interviews
  • Showing appreciation for the work of the guests and sharing their fascination
  • Mat’s passion and energy for the topic and how it engages listeners
  • Elements of a good question, including finding unique nuggets of information
  • Utilizing the internet to access resources and enhance interviews


  • Find out about the Planetary Defense Conference in Vienna and the asteroid Hunters IMAX, and how the Planetary Society is involved in these exciting initiatives.

Resources Mentioned in the Episode