When a team of scientists have launched a space probe to the heart of our solar system in brand-new mission to our Sun, it makes fresh discoveries reveal how it works; along the way, experts uncover a surprise find on Mercury.
In the darkest reaches of the Solar System, the dwarf planet Pluto lies in a previously unknown region of space until an underground group of scientists took on the establishment and sent a spacecraft to the most distant world that's ever been explored.
2021 • Astronomy
Astronaut Mike Massimino explores Venus, a hellish planet covered in active volcanoes and dense clouds. Using cutting edge technology, he decodes the secrets beneath this volatile planet and investigates if Earth could be heading towards the same fate.
Could Mars have ever harbored life? Thanks to NASA's latest Mars rover Curiosity, scientists are finding clues to this profound question. This program tracks the first year of Curiosity's adventure, and confirms that an ancient environment could have supported life on Mars.
Sagan reflects on the future of humanity and the question of "who speaks for Earth?" when meeting extraterrestrials. He discusses the very different meetings of the Tlingit people and explorer Jean-Francois de La Perouse with the destruction of the Aztecs by Spanish conquistadors, the looming threat of nuclear warfare, and the threats shown by destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the murder of Hypatia. The episode ends with an overview of the beginning of the universe, the evolution of life, and the accomplishments of humanity and makes a plea to mankind to cherish life and continue its journey in the cosmos. The Cosmos Update notes the preliminary reconnaissance of planets with spacecraft, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa, and measures towards the reduction of nuclear weapons.
Today we are talking about the life -- and death -- of stars. Low mass stars live a long time, fusing all their hydrogen into helium over a trillion years. More massive stars like the Sun live shorter lives. They fuse hydrogen into helium, and eventually helium into carbon (and also some oxygen and neon). When this happens they expand, get brighter, and cool off, becoming red giants. They lose most of their mass, exposing their cores, and then cool off over many billions of years.
Even with a surface temperature of -180C, Saturn's moon, Titan, could be another Earth. There's evidence of dunes made of quantities of organic material that could contain the building blocks for DNA. Astrobiologists are conducting studies on the possibility that life could be present on Titan.