It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster: a deadly asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. But in reality, it's only a matter of time before a giant space rock threatens to wipe out civilization. An asteroid took out the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago. Are we next? This episode analyzes the threat and explores the many ways--from a nuclear bomb to ingenious new technology
Could we be unique in the universe or is there another planet similar to earth somewhere in the cosmos? Is it possible that Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, is home to another earth-like planet? Earth sized planets have been hard to find, but indirect methods are coming on line to give scientists a good survey of how many such bodies may be in the universe.
A variety of cosmic events have both helpful and harmful effects on life on Earth. From the beauty of the Aurora Borealis and rainbows to the dangers of UV radiation and cosmic rays, from the miracle of photosynthesis to the thrill of a meteor shower.
For most, it's the deadly centerpiece of the film Star Wars. But in truth, real death stars are in the final stage of life before they explode into supernovae and, occasionally, the biggest blast in the universe--the gamma ray burst (GRB).
Every year, thousands of objects both natural and manmade plummet through our atmosphere and crash into the Earth. These menacing messengers from the sky provide scientists with amazing insights into the natural, and not so natural, phenomena.
The Universe is full of explosions that both create and destroy. The Chicxulub impact on the Yucatan peninsula, which may have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, was two million times more powerful than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated.
Scientists discuss 10 different ways of destroying the Earth; including Venus to Earth impact, the Big Burn, Stop the Spin, Black Holes, Turn off the Gravity, Anti-Matter Annihilation, Parallel Worlds Collide.
On alien planets, they rain from the sky as scalding iron. On distant moons, even at hundreds of degrees below zero, they slosh around in pristine lakes of methane. They can cover entire planets in miles-deep oceans of electrified hydrogen metal.
Is science-fiction rooted in science? Has science caught up to science-fiction, past and present? Is there any scientific technology that has surpassed science-fiction? This episode explores these questions and more.
Ours is a universe of energy, from powerful jets ejected from black holes to the raw nuclear fury of our Sun. But, the total amount of energy in the universe maintains perfect equilibrium--no more can be added or taken away.