After the destruction of Shuttle Challenger, the US considered grounding its fleet for good. That is until the stunning discovery that the Soviets had built their own fleet using plans stolen from NASA.
The space shuttles were intended to be a safe and cost-effective way to get into space, yet ignorance and an impending shutdown threatened that. Follow the extraordinary history of the NASA space shuttles from the 1981 maiden space flight to the televised explosion of Challenger in 1986.
2018 • Astronomy
Part 1 of this series chronicles NASA’s finest accomplishments in space exploration – the moments that inspired generations over the last 50 years. Re-discover the highlights of mankind’s progress including achievements such as the Freedom 7.
1/2 • NASA's Ten Greatest Achievements • 2016 • Astronomy
Is it possible that there is a hidden planet within our own solar system? New evidence suggests that the fabled Planet X, or Planet 9, may indeed exist… but where? Meet the teams racing to discover and redefine our planetary neighborhood.
Breakthrough • 2020 • Astronomy
Gamma-ray bursts are not only incredible to study, but their discovery has an epic story all its own. Today Phil takes you through some Cold War history and then dives into what we know. Bursts come in two rough varieties: Long and short. Long ones are from hypernovae, massive stars exploding, sending out twin beams of matter and energy. Short ones are from merging neutron stars. Both kinds are so energetic they are visible for billions of light years, and both are also the birth announcements of black holes.
40 • Crash Course Astronomy • 2015 • Astronomy
On a cosmic time scale, human history is as brief as the blink of an eye. By compressing all 13.8 billion years of time into a 10 minute scale, this video shows just how young we truly are, and just how ancient and vast our universe is. Starting with the big bang and culminating in the appearance of homo sapiens, this experience follows the unfolding of time at 22 million years per second, adhering closely to current scientific understanding.
2018 • Astronomy
Venus is a gorgeous naked-eye planet, hanging like a diamond in the twilight -- but it’s beauty is best looked at from afar. Even though Mercury is closer to the sun, Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system, due to a runaway greenhouse effect, and has the most volcanic activity in the solar system. Its north and south poles were flipped, causing it to rotate backwards and making for very strange days on this beautiful but inhospitable world.
14 • Crash Course Astronomy • Astronomy
How do astronomers make sense out of the vastness of space? How do they study things so far away? Today Phil talks about distances, going back to early astronomy. Ancient Greeks were able to find the size of the Earth, and from that the distance to and the sizes of the Moon and Sun. Once the Earth/Sun distance was found, parallax was used to find the distance to nearby stars, and that was bootstrapped using brightness to determine the distances to much farther stars.
25 • Crash Course Astronomy • 2015 • Astronomy