Scientists attempt to understand the subatomic world.
The coldest places in the solar system and beyond are examined, including the possibility of a "Star Wars"-style ice planet.
Scientists discuss recent discoveries about our own corner of the galaxy: new andwandering planets, the "local fluff", the "local bubble" and some of the things that make our neighborhood unique.
Astronomical numbers too huge to becomprehended bythe average person are made relatable through analogy.
Since the dawn of civilization, humans have wondered who or what created the universe. Religion offers a spiritual answer, but do the latest discoveries in physics show evidence of a transcendent intelligence, or simply that the laws of physics by themselves could have led to the universe in which we live? This episode embarks on a mind-bending scientific search for God, asking physicists and theologians if the seemingly miraculous way the universe has been calibrated to support life is evidence of a creator...whether string theory will eventually be able to rule out the existence of God...why Stephen Hawking says the universe could have been created spontaneously...and how an advanced civilization in another universe could have conceivably created our own.moreless
The technology required for travel between stars is examined.
Earth may seem like the most hospitable planet in the solar system. But look again. Startling new discoveries reveal the blue planet has been plagued by more chaos and destruction than scientists once imagined. Stand on the Earth billions of years ago as a primitive planet slams into it. Shiver as our entire globe is frozen over like a gigantic snowball. Feel the heat as mammoth volcanoes scorch the landscape and darken the sky. From a cosmic gamma ray burst frying away the ozone layer to an Everest-size asteroid slamming into the ocean, we'll reveal new information about how these unparalleled events drove life to the brink of total extinction. Out of this continuous devastation, how has our planet--and life--got to where it is today? Are the worst days behind us--or lurking in the distant future?moreless
What might happen if the first manned mission to Mars crashes hundreds of miles from the rocket that would take them back home? Could they survive the crash, and travel across the brutal Martian surface to their home ship? We'll show what the astronauts would have to do to survive dust storms and space radiation, while extracting vital resources like water from the Martian soil itself. It's a dramatic vision of the very near future, where survival can depend on pre-industrial technology and human ingenuity.moreless
At 4.6 billion years old, the Solar System is our solid, secure home in the Universe. But how did it come to be? In this episode we trace the system's birth from a thin cloud of dust and gas. Shocked by a nearby supernova, the pull of gravity and natural rotation spun it into a flat disc from which the Sun and planets coalesced. It all happened in the space of 700 million years, during which the planets jockeyed for position, dodging the brutal bombardment of deadly asteroids and setting into the neat, stable system that we now realize might be a rarity in the universe.moreless
The planets of our solar system have experienced epic catastrophes throughout their long history, both raining down from outside and bubbling up from within. We'll voyage back in time to investigate the violent events that profoundly shaped the planets, including earth itself. We'll witness stunning revelations about what transformed Mars into a barren, hostile desert...The disaster that changed Venus from temperate to hellish...The impact that blew away Mercury's mantle, turning it into a planetary core...A colossal disturbance that rearranged the orbits of the gas giants...Titanic impacts on Jupiter...And how a lost moon may finally explain Saturn's rings.moreless
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