To celebrate the Apollo moon landing's 50th anniversary, Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain travel to where the historic Apollo 11 mission began – Cape Canaveral in Florida. They hear first hand from astronaut general Charlie Duke what it was like to guide Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the Moon in the Lunar Lander and how he followed in their footsteps three years later. They also look at the most exciting new developments and, with privileged access, they broadcast from the top of launch tower that is being prepared for crewed missions and from the assembly line of a spacecraft factory. They are joined by astrophysicist and medic Dr Kevin Fong and mathematician Dr Hannah Fry, who explore the latest developments in human space flight - from cutting-edge spacewalk technology to a future Mars buggy.
Massive stars fuse heavier elements in their cores than lower mass stars. This leads to the creation of heavier elements up to iron. Iron robs critical energy from the core, causing it to collapse. The shock wave, together with a huge swarm of neutrinos, blast through the star’s outer layers, causing it to explode. The resulting supernova creates even more heavy elements, scattering them through space. Also, happily, we’re in no danger from a nearby supernova.
Astronomers study a lot of gorgeous things, but nebulae might be the most breathtakingly beautiful of them all. Nebulae are clouds of gas and dust in space. They can glow on their own or reflect light from nearby stars. When they glow it’s usually predominantly red from hydrogen and green from oxygen, and when they reflect and scatter light it’s from massive hot stars, so they look blue. Stars are born in some nebulae, and create new ones as they die. Some nebulae are small and dense, others can be dozens or hundreds of light years across.
Scientists have started looking to the heavens and wondering what the weather might be like on other planets. Today, we are witnessing the birth of extra-terrestrial meteorology. They began with our solar system, sending spacecraft to explore its furthest reaches, and now the latest telescopes are enabling astronomers to study planets further afield. Our exploration of the universe is revealing alien worlds with gigantic storm systems that encircle entire planets, supersonic winds and extreme temperatures. On some planets, temperatures are so hot that the clouds and rain are believed to be made of liquid lava droplets, and on other planets it is thought to rain precious stones. We thought we had extreme weather on Earth, but it turns out that it is nothing compared to what's out there.