Race to the Red Planet • 2014 • episode "1/6" Mars: The Secret Science Series 1

Category: Astronomy

Scientists and modern explorers are determined to send humans to Mars; as NASA builds its first spacecraft to carry astronauts to Mars and tech visionaries devise extraterrestrial colonies, future on Mars might be a reality.

Mars: The Secret Science Series 1 • 0 • 6 episodes •

Race to the Red Planet

Scientists and modern explorers are determined to send humans to Mars; as NASA builds its first spacecraft to carry astronauts to Mars and tech visionaries devise extraterrestrial colonies, future on Mars might be a reality.

2014 • Astronomy

Is there Life?

NASA’s Curiosity mission is on a quest to find life on Mars, but what they uncover could reveal far more than what anyone expected

2014 • Astronomy

Conquering the New Frontier

The possibility of a human civilization on Mars has seemed like a fantasy -- until now. We go behind-the-scenes at SpaceX, where Elon Musk shows us just how real this fantasy can be.

2014 • Astronomy

Mars's Deepest Mysteries

We examine what lies beneath Mars’s surface and uncover answers to some of the mysteries that have stumped scientists for decades

2014 • Astronomy

NASA's Most Dangerous Mission

Landing humans on Mars will be hard, but keeping them alive will be even harder. NASA scientists are on the verge of designing some of the most innovative rockets and training the astronauts who will pilot them.

2014 • Astronomy

Secret History of a Rover

The Curiosity Rover is the largest, heaviest, and most technologically advanced piece of equipment ever to go to Mars. We go inside NASA to discover what it took to build it.

2014 • Astronomy

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'To send a spacecraft there is a little bit insane,' says Scott Bolton when talking about Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. But that is exactly what he has done, because Scott is head of Juno, the Nasa mission designed to peer through Jupiter's swirling clouds and reveal the wonders within. But this is no ordinary world. This documentary, narrated by Toby Jones, journeys with the scientists into the heart of a giant. Professor Kaitlin Kratter shows us how extreme Jupiter is. She has come to a quarry to measure out each planet's mass with rocks, starting with the smallest. Mercury is a single kilogram, and the Earth is 17. But Jupiter is on another scale entirely. It is seven tonnes - that is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets combined. On Kaitlin's scale it is not a pile of rocks, it is the truck delivering them. With extreme size comes extreme radiation. Juno is in the most extreme environment Nasa has visited. By projecting a 70-foot-wide, life-size Juno on a Houston rooftop, Scott shows us how its fragile electronics are encased in 200kg of titanium. As Scott puts it, 'we had to build an armoured tank to go there.' The team's efforts have been worthwhile. Professor Andrew Ingersoll, Juno's space weatherman, reveals they have seen lightning inside Jupiter, perhaps a thousand times more powerful than Earth's lightning. This might be evidence for huge quantities of water inside Jupiter. Prof Ingersoll also tells us that the Great Red Spot, a vast hurricane-like storm that could swallow the Earth whole, goes down as far as they can see - 'it could go down 1,000s of kilometres'. Deeper into the planet and things get stranger still. At the National Ignition facility in northern California, Dr Marius Millot is using powerful lasers normally used for nuclear fusion for an astonishing experiment. He uses '500 times the power that is used for the entire United States at a given moment' to crush hydrogen to the pressures inside Jupiter. Under these extreme conditions, hydrogen becomes a liquid metal. Juno is finding out how much liquid metallic hydrogen is inside Jupiter, and scientists hope to better understand how this flowing metal produces the most powerful aurora in the Solar System. But what is at Jupiter's heart? In Nice, Prof Tristan Guillot explains how Juno uses gravity to map the planet's centre. This can take scientists back to the earliest days of the solar system, because Jupiter is the oldest planet and it should contain clues to its own creation. By chalking out an outline of the Jupiter, Tristan reveals there is a huge rocky core - perhaps ten times the mass of Earth. It is now thought Jupiter started as a small rocky world. But there is a surprise, because Juno's findings suggest this core might be 'fuzzy'. Tristan thinks the planet was bombarded with something akin to shooting stars. As he puts it, 'Jupiter is quite unlike we thought'.

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