The Universe

Season 6 Episode 5

Worst Days on Planet Earth

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Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Nov 29, 2011 on The History Channel
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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?

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      • Narrator: Throughout its more than 4 billion years of existence, planet Earth has endured some extremely rough days. But were they the very worst? Was it a shattering encounter with a planet that got too close? Or a hot shower of deadly rays that almost scoured the planet clean of life? From runaway vulcanism that lead to vast extinctions to tiny microbes that triggered a global deep freeze, life has teetered perilisly close to the brink time and time again. Are the darkest hours behind us? Or lurking in the distant future? Take cover as we count down the seven worst days on planet Earth.

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