The Planets looks at unmanned exploration of our solar system focusing on the discoveries of the Mariner, Venera, Viking, and Voyager probes.


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Episode credited cast:
Sasha Basilevsky ...
Himself - Geologist
Donald Black ...
Himself (as Dr. Donald Black)
Mark Halliley ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
William Hartmann ...
Himself - Planetary Sciences Institute, Arizona (as Bill Hartmann)
Himself - Brown University, Rhode Island
Linda Hyder ...
Herself - Voyager Navigation Engineer
Mike Malin ...
Himself - Malin Space Science Systems, California
Mikhail Marov ...
Himself - Venera Mission Engineer
Ray Reynolds ...
Himself - Phyicist
Arnold Selivanov ...
Himself - Venera Mission Engineer
Brad Smith ...
Himself - Astronomer
Larry Soderblom ...
Himself - US Geological Survey, Arizona
Gerry Soffen ...
Himself - Viking Mission Scientist
Jerry Soften ...
Ellen Stofan ...
Herself - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Earth is a living planet. Volcanic eruptions mean that it is geological alive. Astronomers and geologists wondered for a long time if other planets also are alive. When a series of space probes went to Mars and Venus in the 60's and 70's, the researchers were eager to look at the photos of those planets. They saw gigantic volcanoes and canyons, but these were just remnants of geological activities billions of years ago. Earth seemed to be the only living world in universe. But when the space probe Voyager in 1979 passed the moons of Jupiter something unexpected was seen. The moon Io is covered with volcanoes that are still alive. The explanation for this seems to be the huge gravitational force from Jupiter squeezing Io, thus heating the interior of this moon to incredible temperatures. Jupiter's gravitational force also squeezes the moon Europe, so its ice-cap cracks continuously, causing gigantic geysers of water to squirt 5-10 km upwards. A similar phenomenon was found on Neptune's... Written by Maths Jesperson {}

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Release Date:

6 May 1999 (UK)  »

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