Right now researchers are hunting for extra-terrestrial life on several fronts. To find out just how close we might be to a breakthrough, astrophysicist Dr Graham Phillips visits telescopes, swims among the stromatolites on the remote West Australian coastline, and chats with scientists from around the world
2017 • Astronomy
Off Australia's northeast coast lies a wonder of the world, a living structure so big it can be seen from space, more intricate and complex than any city, and so diverse it hosts a third of all fish species in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef as we know it -- 8,000 years old and home to thousands of marine species -- is dying in our lifetime.
2017 • Environment
A group of world-renowned scientists are on a quest to uncover the secrets of the most significant day in our planet's history: the day that killed the dinosaurs. 66 million years ago an asteroid the size of London hit the planet in the modern-day Gulf of Mexico. Now, as co-leaders of an expedition to drill deep into the Chicxulub asteroid impact crater, Geologists Sean Gulick and Jo Morgan have set out to answer how this resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs.
2017 • Nature
Angela Rippon investigates the disease that took her mother's life and is now starting to affect her friends. She undergoes a series of tests to discover if she has any early signs of the disease and makes the difficult decision about whether to take a genetic test that could predict her future risk. Along the way, Angela finds out some of the surprising ways people can help to protect themselves. She discovers why getting a good night's sleep could help prevent Alzheimer's and how learning a new language might be more effective than any current drug treatment. Angela also visits a number of people who are living with the disease, including Bob, the husband of one of her oldest friends. She meets families that carry a gene for early-onset Alzheimer's and discovers how they could be the best hope of finding a cure for this devastating disease.
2016 • Health
For every pound we spend on food shopping, 77p goes to the supermarkets, giving them a huge influence over what we eat. But can we trust the supermarkets to tell us the truth about what we are buying and how it was produced? Or do their profits come first? In an experiment to discover the hidden truths about our everyday foods, Horizon has built the first ever truly 'honest supermarket'. Drawing on the latest scientific research and leading experts from across the UK, the team have built a supermarket where the products are labelled with the real story of how they are produced and their effect on us and the environment. We invite the British public to come in and discover the truth about their favourite foods. And in our on-site lab, new scientific discoveries reveal the food facts the supermarkets aren't telling you. Presented by Dr Hannah Fry and dietician Priya Tew, The Honest Supermarket takes a cold hard look at what's really going on with the food we eat. From new research that reveals you're likely to be ingesting plastic particles along with your bottled water to the lab tests that uncover the disturbing truth about just how old your 'fresh' supermarket fish really is… You'll never look at the food on your supermarket shelves in the same way again.
Our lifespan is increasing by 2.5 years every decade - and a third of all babies born today can expect to live to 100. But living longer can come at a cost. Old age itself brings with it a range of debilitating illnesses, many of which are the result of accumulating damage during our lifetime. Three diseases in particular have become the main killers in the developed world - cancer, heart disease and dementia. But a revolution in bio-medicine is now offering new hope for the treatment of these ailments, and the potential to extend our lives still further. Methods such as gene editing and stem cell therapies are transforming the way medicine can conquer disease today. These extreme frontiers of medicine do, however, also come with a range of ethical dilemmas - when is the right time to try out an experimental technique on a patient? Should we gene edit human embryos? And is it right to use cells from aborted foetuses for medical treatments?
When pioneering developmental psychologist Professor Uta Frith started her training back in the 1960s, she met a group of beautiful, bright-eyed young children who seemed completely detached from the rest of the world. It turned out they had just been given the then-new diagnosis of autism. <br /><br /><strong>More on autism here: <a href="https://www.mastersincommunications.org/autism-how-affects-communication/" target="_blank">Autism: how it affects communication and the way people are working to improve it</a>
This week, we meet a girl whose heart has formed outside her ribcage, a man who can spend nine minutes underwater without taking a breath, a woman who is growing a second skeleton and a paralysed man who is regaining movement thanks to a chip implanted into his brain that can 'read' his brain signals.