Straddling the night sky, the Milky Way reminds us of our place in the galaxy we call home. But what shaped this giant spiral of stars and what will be its destiny? NOVA travels back in time to unlock the turbulent story of our cosmic neighborhood.
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Today we’re rounding out our planetary tour with ice giants Uranus and Neptune. Both have small rocky cores, thick mantles of ammonia, water, and methane, and atmospheres that make them look greenish and blue. Uranus has a truly weird rotation and relatively dull weather, while Neptune has clouds and storms whipped by tremendous winds. Both have rings and moons, with Neptune’s Triton probably being a captured iceball that has active geology.
After we reached the moon, NASA refocused energy on mastering routine spaceflight and living in earth orbit. With the retirement of the Shuttle program, we explore the massive contributions Low Earth Orbit operations have brought to our lives and watch the new guys in town spread their wings, ready to take their place in space history
Asteroids strike, planets collide, black holes blast out death rays, volcanoes erupt and ice engulfs the planet. These are the universe’s weapons of extinction. They’ve happened before - wiping out entire species, and they will happen again. Are we next?