Apollo astronauts and engineers tell the inside story of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon. The U.S. space program suffered a bitter setback when Apollo 1 ended in a deadly fire during a pre-launch run-through. In disarray, and threatened by the prospect of a Soviet Union victory in the space race, NASA decided upon a radical and risky change of plan: turn Apollo 8 from an earth-orbit mission into a daring sprint to the moon while relying on untried new technologies. Fifty years after the historic mission, the Apollo 8 astronauts and engineers recount the feats of engineering that paved the way to the moon.
Deep in the mountains of West Virginia, the Green Bank Observatory has been receiving a mysterious signal from deep space. Could this be a message from an advanced civilization, or is it a much stranger and violent occurrence? Visit the largest steerable radio telescope on the planet for answers.
2018 • Astronomy
Can Jupiter unlock the secrets of Earth’s formation? How did a team engineer a spacecraft to endure a toxic mix of radiation and gaseous turbulence? After a five-year journey, the moment of truth is finally here. Jupiter: Close Encounter delivers a comprehensive, hour-long look at the unprecedented, amazing, and utterly extreme journey of NASA’s heavily armoured Juno Spacecraft on an odyssey to the largest planet in the solar system. Anchored by DAILY PLANET Co-Host Dr. Dan Riskin from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, Jupiter: Close Encounter follows NASA’s Juno Spacecraft mission as it attempts to enter a “polar orbit” around the king of the the solar system for the first time ever on July 4. The landmark mission will study the planet’s spectacular auroras, seek the inner-most core, and wade into Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The gripping one-hour special introduces viewers to the dedicated and incredible team behind the high stakes-mission – scientists determined to provide new answers to the mystery of the solar system, Earth, and life itself.
2016 • Astronomy
This episode documents how gravity has an effect across the universe, and how the relatively weak force creates an orbit. We also see how a neutron star's gravity works. Finally, there is a look back at how research on gravity has enabled us to better understand the cosmos.
We think of comets as beautiful glowing balls of light streaking across our skies with their long sweeping tails, yet comets are so much more than just a cosmic firework display. Comets have a uniquely important place in modern science. As time machines from the early universe, they could hold the key to unlock the secrets of the cosmos. Comets could even be the origin of life itself. We follow the incredible odyssey of a comet as it sails through the solar system, watching it's every move as it evolves from a dormant chunk of ice and rock into a tumbling, violently active nucleus engulfed in a gaseous haze. What we learn is a revelation; comets are even more mysterious and fascinating than we had ever imagined.
Twelve billion miles away a tiny spaceship is leaving our solar system and entering the void of deep space. It is the first human-made object ever to do so. Slowly dying within its heart is a plutonium generator that will beat for perhaps another decade before the lights on Voyager finally go out. But this little craft will travel on for millions of years, carrying a Golden Record bearing recordings and images of life on Earth. The story of Voyager is an epic of human achievement, personal drama and almost miraculous success. Launched 16 days apart in 1977, the twin Voyager space probes have defied all the odds, survived countless near misses and almost 40 years later continue to beam revolutionary information across unimaginable distances. With less computing power than a modern hearing aid, they have unlocked the stunning secrets of our solar system. This film tells the story of these magnificent machines, the men and women who built them and the vision that propelled them farther than anyone could ever have hoped.
On a high plateau in a remote desert in northern Chile lies the largest observatory on Earth, ALMA, or Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array. The name refers to a network of 66 massive radio telescopes, working in unison to observe the birth and death of stars and planets, and answer centuries-old questions about the origins of our universe. Witness the history of ALMA, the remarkable product of a 20-year global effort, and see how it is already changing our basic understanding of the cosmos, and astronomy itself.
2013 • Astronomy