The Space Race • 2020 • episode "S1E2" History 101

Category: Astronomy

Fifteen international agencies spend $62 billion every year on space travel. What's fueling our costly - and dangerous - drive to explore the universe?

History 101 • 2000 - 2020 • 10 episodes •

Fast Food

Cheap, quick and tasty, fast food became a culinary craze in the 1950s. But has our quest for convenience created an irreversible health crisis?

2020 • Health

The Space Race

Fifteen international agencies spend $62 billion every year on space travel. What's fueling our costly - and dangerous - drive to explore the universe?

2020 • Astronomy

The Rise of China

In the 21st century, China has become a global economic powerhouse. Why was the rest of the world so slow to notice its rise to the top?

2020 • Economics


Plastics have transformed how we live, but progress comes at a high price: 7.8 billion tons of waste. Are plastics a miracle or a catastrophe?

2000 • Environment

Oil and the Middle East

Oil has brought great wealth to the Middle East and ignited major wars. Is it a blessing or a curse for the region, as well as the rest of the world?

2020 • Economics


We share the planet with an estimated 9 million robots, from self-driving cars to surgical arms. Could they one day completely replace humans?

2020 • Technology


Feminism has ushered in sweeping changes to society, securing rights for women around the world. How much further do we have to go?

2020 • People

Nuclear Power

Over 10% of the world's electricity comes from nuclear power. But with radioactive waste and the threat of nuclear meltdown, are we playing with fire?

2020 • Economics


Nearly 40 million people are living with HIV. After decades of research and activism, how far have we come in finding a cure and battling the stigma?

2020 • Health


DNA analysis has given us the tools to map disease, solve crimes and more. But in our rush to decode DNA, are we leaping before we look?

2020 • Science

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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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