Nasa intends to send astronauts to Mars. To succeed, crew members will have to overcome unprecedented, life-threatening challenges, and while many of these hazards are physical, the most elusive are psychological. Throughout the expected three-year absence, crew members won't be able to communicate with Earth in real time due to the immense distance. The psychological impact of this level of disconnectedness and isolation - both from mission control and loved ones - is impossible to predict and endangers the mission itself. Directed to mitigate this threat is Dr Al Holland, a Nasa psychologist whose job is to keep astronauts mentally stable in space. The Longest Goodbye follows Holland, rookie astronauts Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer and former astronaut Cady Coleman, among others, as they grapple with the tension between their dream of reaching new frontiers and the basic human need to stay connected to home.
2023 • Astronomy
Bacteria, viruses, but also fungus spores, algae, pollen, and even insects: microorganisms are constantly drifting through the sky. How can so many living beings find their way into the air and be circulating in our atmosphere? How do they survive? What is their influence on our lives and our entire living world? Biodiversity, health, climate - scientists are only now discovering just how much this discreet airborne "plankton" affects our lives and the entire ecosystem on Earth. But despite its many virtues, this magic matter is now under threat from human activity. With help from experts and using 3D visual effects, this scientific investigation will take us to the heart of a world that is still very little understood, and will reveal the diversity and fragility of the air we breathe.
2023 • Health
We are living in a time that has been described as the age of loneliness. Statistics reveal that over the last few decades, the number of admittedly lonely people has doubled. Many individuals report they have trouble making friends and finding others to confide in. Despite advances in technology, living conditions, education and healthcare, it's apparent that we are feeling more alone than ever before. While it's true that this isolation impacts us psychologically and emotionally, what many of us don't realize is the negative impact it has on every aspect of our health and well-being. So what's caused this? How have we become so Disconnected? Wellness expert Tamer Soliman attempts to answer these questions by visiting cities across North America. Through interviews with local citizens, community activists, and leading authorities on social, economic and urban design, Tamer discovers the reasons behind this loneliness epidemic and the true cost it has on our lives. This fascinating documentary invites us to reflect on our relationships with those around us and raises the question: Is it possible to overcome our modern day culture of disconnectedness and rediscover how essential we are to each other?
2020 • Health
Both the Greek island of Ikaria and a peninsula in Costa Rica boast some of the world's healthiest and most active folks over 100 years old. Discover how they do it with simple foods and exercise that are fully integrated into daily life.
On the island of Sardinia, the people live in harmony with the land and with one another. Learn about this effortless lifestyle where work and play seem to be united and the result is longevity. Can the same be true in an American suburb?
How can people live so long and with such great health? A trip to Okinawa reveals simple secrets about diet, lifestyle and longevity. They maintain a sense of purpose no matter what age and you won't find them laying on the sofa.
Putin who was against foreign military intervention (and even criticized the west for intervening in Iraq and Libya), suddenly decides to support his ally Bashar al-Assad in Syria by sending Russian air-force to bomb the ISIS territory.
Following the Euromaidan protests and fleeing of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Valdimir Putin invades the strategic region Crimea using separatist forces, and annexes it to the Russian Federation. The western world leaders try to convince Putin to a ceasefire in Crimea.
Dr. Michio Kaku, the renowned theoretical physicist, walks through the evolutionary journey of quantum computing, from analog to digital to the quantum era. Quantum computers hold immense promise because of their ability to tap into parallel universes, which boosts their computational power exponentially. They could revolutionize agriculture, energy, and medicine, solving complex problems like creating efficient fertilizers, achieving fusion energy, and modeling diseases at the molecular level.
Artificial intelligence now permeates every aspect of our lives, but only a handful of people have any control over its influence on our world. With unique access to some of the most powerful pioneers of the AI revolution, iHuman asks whether we know the limits of what artificial intelligence is capable of and its true impact.
2023 • Technology
A unique and captivating documentary on the story of humanity's quest to measure time. Who invented time, who invented the clock? Why 1 hour, why 60 minutes, why 60 seconds? Since prehistoric times, man has sought to measure time, to organize social and religious life, to plan food supply... Today we can surf the Internet, geolocate, pay by credit card ... All our daily lives depend on time and the synchronization of clocks. The history of the invention of time and of the ways and instruments to measure it is a long story... Controlling Time, one of Humanity's biggest obsessions. First, man began to calculate the observable phenomena of time using incredible astronomical measuring instruments. Calendars were born. Then, he sought to quantify ever more precise durations, with ever more sophisticated machines, in order to establish a social, conventional time, the same for all. Today, this time, inscribed on our smartphones, is established by atomic clocks which have become the keystone of our digital world. Not without enormous industrial and economic challenges at stake. Through what major technological breakthroughs have we succeeded in controlling time, to the point of being able to make its ultra-precise factory the foundation of our interconnected society? From France to Greece, through Italy, England, and Switzerland, a group of experts —astrophysicists, engineers and historians — follows in the footsteps of genius inventors who forged our perception of time and our relationship to the world. For better and for worse. This film delves into the invention of time & ways to measure it. Don't waste time and be sure to make time to watch this fascinating film!
2021 • Physics
The film reveals how water underpins every aspect of our existence. In the emptiness of outer space, Earth is alive because of water. Humanity's relationship with this simple molecule is everything and has been both positive and negative. Explore our interdependent relationship with water and the cosmos. Chapter 1: Pulse How did water become the essential force behind all life? Dive in! Chapter 2: Civilizations Travel into the past to see how water created the earliest civilizations. Chapter 3: Crisis How is Earth's changing water cycle – and water for profit - forcing changes across the globe?
2021 • Environment
The little-known story of the American effort to relieve starvation in the new Soviet Russia in 1921, The Great Famine is a documentary about the worst natural disaster in Europe since the Black Plague in the Middle Ages. Five million Russians died. Half a world away, Americans responded with a massive two-year relief campaign, championed by Herbert Hoover, director of the American Relief Administration known as the ARA. In July of 1921, Herbert Hoover, received a plea for international aid by Russian novelist Maxim Gorky. "Gloomy days have come for the country of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Mendeleyev," Gorky warned. He made a similar request to other Western nations, but it was Hoover who responded immediately with a promise of support. The first American relief ships arrived in Petrograd in September 1921, as the embers of the 1917 Russian revolution still smoldered. American relief workers were among the first outsiders to break through Russia's isolation and to witness and record the impact of the Bolshevik Revolution. They would be tested by a railroad system in disarray, a forbidding climate, a ruthless government suspicious of their motives, and the enormous scale of death and starvation. The initial plan called for feeding one million children by delivering bread, rice, grits, sugar, corn and milk to the most hard hit regions. Almost immediately, Hoover encountered formidable obstacles. Vladimir Lenin's new communist government was skeptical of American aid and sabotaged the relief effort by planting spies in local American Relief Administration offices. When trains stuck on the tracks prevented food from being transported, Russian officials were uncooperative, resulting in delays that contributed to an estimated 50,000 deaths. New estimates in the fall of 1921 revealed that at least 16 million Russians would be impacted by the famine. Hoover's initial plan to feed just the children would not be sufficient. That winter, cannibalism became widespread across Russia as the people continued to starve. In the U.S., Hoover managed to double the project's funding, arguing that by providing food famine relief, Americans could demonstrate the strength, kindness and efficiency of American society to a Communist culture. After a spring thaw, hundreds of American relief workers — nicknamed "Hoover's boys" — were finally able to deliver food. In August 1922, a full five months after the initial shipments of corn were sent to Russia, American Relief Administration officials were still feeding almost 11 million Soviet citizens each day in 19,000 kitchens. By the end of the famine that fall, five million Russians had starved to death, but the toll would have been significantly higher without Hoover's unprecedented humanitarian commitment. Known as "the Great Humanitarian" for his relief work during and after World War I, Hoover is said to have saved more lives than any person in history. "Lenin's government never recognized America's humanitarian motives," says producer Austin Hoyt (George H. W. Bush, Victory in the Pacific, Reagan). The Soviets always saw the relief workers as exploiters and spies." The Cheka, Lenin's secret police, kept a watchful eye on the Americans and especially on the 120,000 Russians the ARA hired to do the work. White Russians and aristocrats, the losers in Russia's brutal civil war, were hired because they were educated. The Bolsheviks feared the ARA was training them as counter-revolutionaries. The tensions the Americans experienced in the early 1920s would come to dominate U.S. Soviet relations for much of the century.
2011 • History
J. Robert Oppenheimer was a national hero, the brilliant scientist who during WWII led the scientific team that created the atomic bomb. But after the bomb brought the war to an end, in spite of his renown and his enormous achievement, America turned on him - humiliated and cast him aside. The question the film asks is, "Why?"
2008 • Science
Today Earth is a human world, home to eight billion people and counting. Humans now have a greater effect in shaping Earth’s surface than many natural processes. In this episode, Chris Packham explores how dramatic twists in Earth’s story enabled humans to go from being part of nature to controlling it, and what we can learn from this epic tale before it’s too late. The story begins 66 million years ago with the catastrophic impact of the asteroid that wiped out the (Non-avian) dinosaurs. From the ashes of the desolation that followed, a new animal family rose to power. This was adaptable and inventive enough to emerge out of the harsh new world – the mammals. It began with a distant ancestor that shared many traits of the much maligned, but evolutionarily brilliant, rat. Due to a series of extreme geological and climatic events, mammals evolved into early primates feasting in the newly formed tropical rainforests, and then to early humans travelling vast distances between forests in places like East Africa’s Rift Valley. Earth’s story is a saga spanning 4.5 billion years, but it’s only in the last 11,000 years - with the rise of farming - that our species has started to dramatically impact our planet and its ecosystems. The human chapter of Earth’s story might end in disaster, but Chris is keen to argue for a different ending, where all of humanity’s achievements to date “…were just our dress rehearsals, because in the very near future our species will need to reach the zenith of its achievements and… all humanity will have to learn to put our Earth first.”
In this episode, Chris Packham tells the almost implausible story of how our world went from a barren rock with a sky of endless black, to the planet we know today, cloaked in the thin blue line of our life-sustaining atmosphere. When Earth first formed from clouds of dust and gas 4.6 billion years ago, it was - like so many other lifeless worlds in the universe - devoid of an atmosphere, an inhospitable rock floating in the black void of space. But as the young planet was pummelled by asteroids a period of extraordinary upheaval began. Over a two-billion-year period, the planet faced violent eruptions and a toxic orange haze, vast oceans of water in the sky and seas turning rusty red. Eventually, with the emergence of life and photosynthesis recalibrating the gases in our atmosphere, the stage was set for Earth to become the vibrant azure-skied planet we call home today.
In this episode, Chris Packham tells the miraculous story of how plant life turned Earth from a barren rock into a vibrant green world. A four billion year saga of extraordinary highs and lows that almost wiped out all life on the planet. Four billion years ago Earth was predominantly a water world, lacking land masses, with plant life’s early ancestors trapped on the seabed. Everything changed when a giant asteroid bombardment smashed into the young planet’s crust triggering plate tectonics - Earth’s extraordinary land building force. As opportunities on land grew, plants faced an epic struggle to establish themselves in a world dominated by giant eight metre fungi, overcoming death and dehydration and eventually creating the life-giving substance that would allow them to prosper: soil. But just as they seemed set to triumph, evolving into the amazing biological machines that are trees, they became the victims of their own success. Giant swamp forests sprang up, locking up so much carbon dioxide, that global temperatures plummeted sending Earth into one of its most terrifying chapters yet.
In Snowball, Chris Packham tells the story of the astonishing moment in Earth’s distant past, when almost the entire planet froze – a glistening ‘Snowball Earth’ in the dark void of space. With ice wrapped around the planet to the equator, the chances of life surviving hang in the balance. Earth’s terrifying journey into the deep freeze started with fire, not ice. 800 million years ago, long before the age of the dinosaurs, before there was even animal life, the giant supercontinent Rodinia broke up. Earth’s vast powerful tectonic forces ripped the land apart, kicking off a series of events that resulted in huge amounts of carbon dioxide being sucked from the atmosphere and sending global temperatures plummeting. This plunge into the deep freeze couldn’t have come at a worse time. The very first forms of complex life - the ancestors to the amazing life we see around us today - were evolving but, as the planet froze to the equator, it looked like their days were numbered. Happily, Chris discovers that after 50 million years locked in ice, volcanic eruptions drove a great thaw. Life broke free from the ice and soon made a giant leap, from the microscopic, to the first animals big enough to see and touch.
In Inferno, Chris Packham explores one of the darkest periods in Earth’s history: the worst mass extinction the planet has ever seen, when as much as 90% of all species died, 252 million years ago. This extraordinary moment in Earth’s history took life to the brink, wreaking havoc and destruction on an unprecedented scale. But somehow, life found a way to bounce back, and a new geological era ushered in the age of the dinosaurs. The story begins with a massive volcanic eruption: the Siberian Traps eruption lasted for two million years and created enough lava field to cover an area the size of Australia. Life in the immediate vicinity was no doubt vaporized, but the fossil record reveals a bigger mystery – a strange ‘line of death’ in rock formations all over the world that indicates almost all life dying out, no matter how close it was to the lava field. Chris uncovers what the latest science reveals about the aftermath of the eruption, and the terrifying series of events that led to the global mass dying. It’s a stark cautionary tale of how rapid climate change can cause whole ecosystems to collapse, but the fossil record also hints at Earth’s miraculous powers of reinvention. Chris discovers clues in rocky mountain ranges to one of greatest deluges in the planet’s history – a downpour lasting on and off for almost two million years that transformed conditions and led life to bounce back in extraordinary style, with the rise and eventual domination of the dinosaurs.
Lev and Ash travel to the Golden temple in Amritsar, eat a hearty breakfast, try mud wrestling and Sikh martial arts. In Lahore, they meet author Salman Rashid, indulge in a Sufi Qawwali delicacy before heading off on Pakistan's oldest passenger train.
Lev and Ash travel to Teetwall, a village on the northwest frontier in Kashmir. While there, they meet the new face of Kashmir as they enjoy a game of cricket and an iftar meal with locals. Later, they discover the Dard Shins culture in Gurez Valley.
13th Century: After a unique triumph, Islam became the religion of many peoples - from Spain to Indonesia. But there was no Islamic empire, just as there was no Christian empire. Middle Ages meant: small states, wars of princes and tribes against each other. This episode covers the spreading of Islamic and Arabic culture, which was based on the use of military slaves: children of non-Muslim Turkic peoples were trained to become Islamic elite warriors. Their military triumph not only spread war and the new faith, but also advanced culture: medicine, art, architecture, astronomy - a unique blossoming of knowledge, culture and intellectual freedom penetrated as far as Spain. The real threat to Allah's earthly kingdom came not from Europe, but from the steppes of Asia. The Mongols attacked their enemies ruthlessly, devastatingly and invincible. In 1258 AD, Baghdad, the center of Islamic civilization, fell into their hands. Military conflict accompanied the spread of Islam during the Middle Ages. This program reveals the ironies of that union between war and faith: how Islam was adopted rather than marginalized by invading Mongols; how the rise of strict Islamic orthodoxy countered the scholarly advances of Arabic culture, weakening the empire; and how European appreciation of Islamic culture grew after the Christian 'Reconquista' of the Iberian peninsula. Interviews with respected scholars—including Drs. Raif Georges Khoury of the University of Heidelberg and Patrick Franke of Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg—illuminate key developments in Islam's Mediterranean dominance.
Corruption, loose morals, depravity – the German monk Martin Luther had enough of this and demanded a pure church and a pure faith. His goal was nothing less than a revolution: the Reformation of the church and the ousting of the "depraved" popes. Instead, the freedom within every Christian believer was to be expressed. The first example was the Peasants' Wars. Christianity once again became divided after the downfall of Byzantium: there were now Catholics, Lutherans and Reformed, for the rebels soon went their own way. The new longing for a purer Christianity soon led to the biggest catastrophe in Europe, the Thirty Years' War. It was not foremost a religious war, although it was easier to kill more mercilessly without a legitimation than have to worry about "eternal life." Europe lost half of its population during this period. The horror of the roving hordes of soldiers, the plunge into the most terrible atrocities that humans are capable of, caused the educated to doubt the beneficial power of religion. The separation of church and state is the result of the European experience of so-called religious wars. Outlining the provincial causes and ravaging effects of Europe's Thirty Years' War, this program illustrates the ability of religious fervor to inflame nationalism and drive the quest for power. With background on Martin Luther's split with the Catholic Church and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, Dr. Helmut Neuhaus of Friedrich Alexander University offers detailed analysis of the Hapsburg-Bohemian conflict, the shifting alliances of Catholics and Protestants, and the mercenary campaigns of Wallenstein—leading to a comparison with large-scale natural disaster. The program clearly identifies the three-decade inferno as an inspiration for later divisions of church and state.
The times were turbulent around 1100 AD, when West-Roman Christianity was spreading out in all directions. The Crusades were part of it - perhaps the most important, certainly the best known. The advance of the Islamic Selchuks could not be stopped, especially their attacks on the travel routes of the pilgrims, who were on their way to the holy Christian sites. When news of raids mounted, the Patriarch of the Eastern Roman Church Alexios I asked Rome for help. Even then, Christianity was divided - not into Catholics and Protestants, but into the Eastern Roman (Orthodox) and Western Roman Churches. The Crusades took place in the middle of tension between these different interest groups. The expansion of the West Romans cut a swath through the Islamic territories, which had by then reached the climax of their development. The Byzantine realm increasingly lost its importance. It was not a battle of cultures, not a struggle against Islam, but a chaotic confrontation of warlords and princes. The main goal of the crusades – the conquest of Jerusalem – was soon forgotten, and the first conquest ended with bloodbaths among the civilian population that are still notorious today. The following crusades were equally infamous and far from an honor to Christianity. This program examines the forces behind European determination to capture Palestine, linking the belligerence of medieval Crusaders with their piousness. Drs. Klaus Herbers of Friedrich Alexander University and Patrick Franke of Martin Luther University draw surprising parallels between East and West, focusing on martyrdom as a vital component of the Crusader's motivation, interreligious notions of knightly behavior, and cases of negotiation and cultural exchange despite numerous atrocities and military disasters. Without neglecting the harsh realities of the Crusades, In the Name of Christ presents a fresh perspective on the medieval clash of Christian and Islamic powers.
Pompeii: The Last Day is a dramatized documentary that tells of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, covering the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash and pumice, killing everyone trapped between the volcano and the sea. On 24 August AD79, the magnificent Roman cities of Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum came to a devastating end. In just 18 hours, the entire city of Pompeii and all its inhabitants were buried in volcanic ash. Pompeii - The Last Day tells the heart rending story of the last hours of both Pompeii and Herculaneum.Their story is told first-hand by those who witnessed the disaster, including a local politician and his family, a fuller, his wife, and two gladiators. Historical characters include Pliny the Elder and his nephew Pliny the Younger. Pompeii: The Last Day draws heavily on the eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger, as well as historical research and recent discoveries in volcanology. This BAFTA nominated and Emmy Award winning drama is the ultimate disaster movie. It's Man versus Volcano - how the greatest civilisation in the world was brought to its knees by a deadly threat it knew nothing about. It s a true story and its significance today is that it could all happen again, much sooner than most people realise. One of history's greatest stories, the destruction of the city of Pompeii was a natural disaster on an epic scale that has fascinated a succession of cultures around the world for centuries. The twin cities lay undisturbed under metres of volcanic debris for more than 1500 years, during which time all memory of them faded. The seal of wet ashes preserved public structures temples, theatres, baths, shops and private dwellings. The remains of some of the victims, including gladiators, soldiers, slaves and their masters, and entire families, were found in the ruins. Archaeological excavations only began in 1748 and have been continued since then. A massive area has now been excavated, however, even today more than a quarter of Pompeii still awaits excavation. The Last Day is based on archaeological evidence and the writings of Pliny the Younger. The documentary, which portrays the different phases of the eruption, was directed by Peter Nicholson and written by Edward Canfor-Dumas. Extensive CGI was used to recreate the effects of the eruption. One of the greatest natural disasters - and most fateful days - comes to vivid life in this critically acclaimed dramatization. Starring Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), and Tim Pigott-Smith OBE (King Charles III 2017, Victoria and Abdul 2017, Alice in Wonderland).
2003 • History
Exploring the myth of the crude savage Attila. Part genius, part psychopath, Attila is unlike the other Huns. A calculating, ruthless gambler, his one goal is conquest - and he's set his sights on Roman cities to test out his brilliant new siege tactics. The Roman Empire is about to fall. Tribes hungry for booty are invading from Asia, the Huns being the fiercest of them. Only two things unite them: The greed for Roman gold and their leader, Attila. He is the greatest warrior the Huns have ever seen, as brutal as he is brilliant. Through skilful tactics and unscrupulous lust for power, he briefly creates an empire that stretches from the steppes of Central Asia to the Danube.
Drama-documentary about Richard the Lionheart. Was he the heroic warrior of Robin Hood? Or was he just a greedy thug who wanted to loot the Holy Land? Revisionist history suggests that Richard was neither- an extremist Christian, he struggled to lead a fractious international coalition against an impenetrable Muslim stronghold. Saladin used scorched earth tactics which spread dissension through the Crusaders' ranks. Gradually, Richard's coalition fell apart and he returned a failure. In 1191, the English King Richard the Lionheart is just one of several leaders of the Third Crusade to retake Jerusalem. His adversary, the aging Egyptian statesman and empire founder Salah-ad Din, had conquered the pilgrimage city a few years earlier. Before the decisive battle of Arsuf, all signs actually point to a dramatic defeat for the crusaders. But Richard keeps his troops together - it will be the greatest triumph of the warrior king.
Drama documentary about Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador who overthrew the Aztec empire and won Mexico for the crown of Spain. In, 1519 the Spanish adventurer Hernan Cortes is supposed to have taken on the mighty Aztec empire with a handful of soldiers and 16 horses. The myth claims that the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, surrendered his empire beause he believed Cortes to be a God. But a more accurate account suggests that the Conquistadors started a civil war in Central America, uniting an army of tribesmen who hated Aztec rule. Montezuma is revealed to be a sophisticated ruler. This is the story of a man who, almost in one fell swoop, subdued an entire civilization: the Aztec Empire. It is one of the highlights and at the same time one of the darkest chapters in human history. In August 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes lands on the east coast of unexplored Central America. Driven by the greed for fabulous riches, Cortes wants to conquer the Aztec kingdom.