What if there was a museum that contained every type of life form in the universe? This experience takes you on a tour through the possible forms alien life might take, from the eerily familiar to the utterly exotic, ranging from the inside of the Earth to the most hostile corners of the universe.
Life once existed on Mars, but a series of devastating mass extinctions have made present-day life nearly impossible. The latest science shows how Martian life keeps bouncing back as it transforms from a watery world like Earth into a desert planet.
Lunar days are about 14 Earth days long, and when night comes, temperatures plummet. But there are other issues to deal with as well. For instance, how can we overcome the moon's lack of atmosphere; difficult terrain with abrasive particles, and the effects of cosmic background radiation?
The episode, devoted to the planet Mars, begins with scientific and fictional speculation about the Red Planet during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, Edgar Rice Burroughs' science fiction books, and Percival Lowell's false vision of canals on Mars). It then moves to Robert Goddard's early experiments in rocket-building, inspired by reading science fiction, and the work by Mars probes, including the Viking, searching for life on Mars. The episode ends with the possibility of the terraforming and colonization of Mars and a Cosmos Update on the relevance of Mars' environment to Earth's and the possibility of a manned mission to Mars.
The space shuttles were intended to be a safe and cost-effective way to get into space, yet ignorance and an impending shutdown threatened that. Follow the extraordinary history of the NASA space shuttles from the 1981 maiden space flight to the televised explosion of Challenger in 1986.