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Recovering from Extinction • 2019 Breakthrough

Category: Environment
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How long does it take for life to rebound after a major mass extinction? Scientists in Svalbard dig through fossil clues for surprising revelations about our Earth's history.

Breakthrough • 2018 - 2020 • 22 episodes •

Drilling for Marsquakes? The InSight Lander

The Mars InSight lander is on a 6-month journey to the Red Planet, with hopes of uncovering some of our planetary neighbor's secrets. Digging deep into Martian soil, the lander will measure marsquakes and also study the deep interior of Mars - perhaps revealing the origins of the planet.

2018 • Astronomy

Floodgates of Venice

MOSE is one of the world?s largest and highest-profile civil-engineering works. But will it be able to save Venice? Venice has grappled with inundation for centuries. But due to natural subsidence and higher tides caused by global warming, the city is more vulnerable to flooding than ever before.

2019 • Technology

New Horizons: The Kuiper Belt Target

The New Horizons spacecraft revolutionized our understanding of the solar system as it rocketed past Pluto. Now, four billion miles since its launch, the craft approaches its next target: Ultima Thule.

2019 • Astronomy

Direct from an Asteroid

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft has just completed one of the most intricate procedures in space exploration. The first mission to deliver rovers onto an asteroid has now descended to its surface for a sample, before returning back to Earth in 2020.

2019 • Astronomy

Recovering from Extinction

How long does it take for life to rebound after a major mass extinction? Scientists in Svalbard dig through fossil clues for surprising revelations about our Earth's history.

2019 • Environment

The First Picture of a Black Hole

For the first time, scientists have captured a photograph of a black hole. The image verifies one of the most important theories in physics and will help unlock the greatest mysteries of the cosmos.

2019 • Astronomy

Shark Family Tree

Great white sharks are one of the most feared predators on Earth, and yet we know very little about them. Science is now revealing the mysteries of this perfect predator through evolutionary biology.

2019 • Nature

Private Moonshot

A non-profit organization established in 2011 is aiming to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. This is the story of their attempt and the excitement of being the first private company to have a spacecraft launched with the intention of going to and landing on the moon.

2019 • Astronomy

T-Rex Timeline

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is known as the king of the dinosaurs, but how did its reign begin? Meet Moros Intrepidus, a 180 lb., deer-sized ancestor to the T-Rex. Learn how the latest in paleontology can now link this small dinosaur to the 19,000-pound Scotty, the largest T-Rex ever discovered.

2019 • Nature

Fixing a Broken Heart

Heart disease is the number one cause of deaths worldwide, but there are researchers frantically working to change that. Meet the people inventing the future of cardiac health, from new ways of imaging the body, to the possibility of 3D printing a functioning heart.

2019 • Health

Modern Day Killer Asteroid

66 million years ago, an asteroid slammed into Mexico’s Yucata´n Peninsula, causing a dinosaur mass extinction. With over 700,000 asteroids in space, what's in store for humanity and our planet if it happens again?

2019 • Astronomy

Climate Crisis

The real impact of global warming is now being felt in communities around the world. Climate scientists explain what to expect where you live, and what steps might still be taken to reverse the climate crisis.

2019 • Environment

Escaping Rip Currents

Rip currents can appear without warning, turning an ideal beach outing into a horrific scene of chaos and panic. But groundbreaking new research could teach thousands of potential victims how to spot and escape these silent killers before it's too late.

2019 • Environment

Herculaneum Scrolls Unraveling History

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius is renowned for its decimation of Pompeii, but nearby, an equally impressive Roman settlement known as Herculaneum was lost to history. Today, the latest in technology is opening a wind to the past, as scientists digitally "unravel" the Herculaneum Scrolls.

2019 • History

Saber-Tooth Brawl

Lions may be known as the kings of the jungle, but it was saber-tooth cats that ruled over the Americas. New fossil evidence is shinning a light on the violent lives of these mysterious species.

2019 • Nature

Touching the Sun

For all of human history, the Sun, our home star, has measured our days and our seasons while fueling all life on Earth. Yet it remains an enigma. NASA's Parker Probe Plus is on a mission to change that -- flying through dangerous radiation to become the closest spaceship to orbit our Sun.

2019 • Astronomy

Greenland is Melting

The Greenland ice sheet, the last remnant of the Ice Age, is melting at an unprecedented rate. Today, scientists and researchers from all over the world are paying close attention to what could become a global catastrophe.

2019 • Environment

Breakthrough: Opportunity a Life on Mars

This year we said goodbye to one of our most intrepid planetary explorers, the Opportunity rover. Take a look back at its storied 15-year mission on Mars, and how it revolutionized our understanding of not just the red planet, but our solar system at large.

2019 • Astronomy

The Coronavirus Epidemic

The coronavirus disease is spreading at frightening speeds from Wuhan, China, to the rest of the world. How did this virus develop, and how close are we to finding an effective vaccine?

2020 • Health

Search for Our Suns Lost Planet

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.

2020 • Astronomy

Coronavirus: Combating the Outbreak

Officially designated as a pandemic, it seems as if COVID-19 has taken over the world. Lucky for us, this isn’t the first time we’ve had to deal with a serious virus outbreak. Experts share the methods currently in place to slow down this infectious disease.

2020 • Health

Coronavirus Race for a Vaccine

According to current estimates, a widely available COVID-19 vaccine will likely be available within the next 12 months. Why so long? Learn how vaccines are developed and explore the current state of the coronavirus landscape, guided by the scientists on the ground trying to find a solution.

2020 • Health

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Gems

Their beauty has captivated us for millennia. Their cost can be extraordinary–some are even considered priceless. Precious gems like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, opal, and jade are the ultimate treasures of the earth, and each one is made from a specific–and often torturous–recipe of chemistry, pressure, and heat. The secrets to their sparkle, color, and even strength lie deep inside the gems themselves, but could they also hold clues to one of the most enduring mysteries in the field of geology? From Tiffany’s workshop in New York to the sapphire mines of Sri Lanka, from North Carolina’s emerald fields to the jade-laden Forbidden City of China.

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Drowning in Plastic

Liz Bonnin works with some of the world's leading marine biologists and campaigners to discover the true dangers of plastic in our oceans and what it means for the future of all life on our planet, including us. Trillions of pieces of plastic are choking the very lifeblood of our earth, and every marine animal, from the smallest plankton to the largest mammals, is being affected. Can we turn back this growing plastic tide before it is too late?

2018 • Environment

Endless Blue

A look at sharks and whales that go to great lengths to survive in the South Pacific.

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Arctic Meltdown: Changing World

In Episode 1: A Changing World, we see the changes that are upsetting the scientific predictions of the impact of climate change on the Arctic. Now, one sobering forecast is that the Arctic Ocean will be seasonally ice free by the summer of 2013. This possibility is what drives environmentalists to identify ways to minimize the changes affecting this snowy land. But for prospectors like Gordon McCreary, climate change brings new opportunities. He is part of the rush to claim the riches beneath the Arctic's ice: deposits of metals, gold, diamonds, and oil and gas.

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Race to Escape

As winter approaches, field teams are finishing up their science for the season. It's the last chance to obtain information for their research on the frozen continent. As most people are preparing to leave, a container ship is on its way in to supply food and materials to the skeleton crew that remains during the cold, dark winter months.

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Rise of the Superstorms

In just one devastating month, Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean were changed forever. In summer 2017, three monster hurricanes swept in from the Atlantic one after another, shattering storm records and killing hundreds of people. First, Harvey brought catastrophic rain and flooding to Houston, causing $125 billion in damage. Less than two weeks later, Irma lashed the Caribbean with 185 mile per hour winds - and left the island of Barbuda uninhabitable. Hot on Irma's heels, Maria intensified from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane in just 15 hours, then ravaged Puerto Rico and left millions of people without power. As the planet warms, are these superstorms the new normal? How well can we predict them? And with hurricane season just around the corner, does the U.S. need to prepare for the reality of climate refugees? NOVA takes you inside the 2017 superstorms and the cutting-edge research that will determine how well equipped we are to deal with hurricanes in the future.

NOVA PBS • 2018 • Environment