Professor Brian Cox fulfils a childhood dream by going behind the scenes at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), mission control for Mars 2020 – one of the most ambitious missions ever launched that may finally reveal if life ever existed on the red planet. In 1980, a young Brian Cox wrote to JPL asking for photos from some of their missions to the planets. The pictures they sent him from Voyager and the Viking mission to Mars were a source of inspiration that set him on the path to becoming a physicist. Now, over 40 years later, he has been granted privileged access to JPL, including key mission areas that are usually off-limits to film crews. Brian spends a week following the team who guide the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter - the first powered aircraft ever sent to another planet - across the surface of Mars during a critical stage of the mission. Perseverance's goal is to search for signs of long extinct life on the surface of Mars in an area called Jezero Crater, which, 3.8 billion years ago, was filled by a vast lake. If it finds evidence of that life, it could change everything we know about life in the universe - and even transform our understanding of our own origins.
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For millennia humans have seen our star, the Sun, through the Earth’s atmosphere. But the Space Age has given us a new perspective that has revealed the many faces of the Sun in X-rays, ultraviolet/visible light, heat, and radio. We reveal hidden secrets of the Sun, like the power of solar wind.
Landing humans on Mars will be hard, but keeping them alive will be even harder. NASA scientists are on the verge of designing some of the most innovative rockets and training the astronauts who will pilot them.
We take viewers into the tangle of magnetic fields and super-hot plasma that vent the Sun’s rage in dramatic flares, violent solar tornadoes, and the largest eruptions in the solar system: Coronal Mass Ejections. What’s driving these strange phenomena? How do they affect planet Earth?
2016 • Astronomy
In order to understand how we study the universe, we need to talk a little bit about light. Light is a form of energy. Its wavelength tells us its energy and color. Spectroscopy allows us to analyze those colors and determine an object’s temperature, density, spin, motion, and chemical composition.
Now that gravitational waves are definitely a thing, it’s time to think about some of the crazy things we can figure out with them. In some cases we’re going to need a gravitational wave observatory - in fact, we've already built one.