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NOVA Marathons: Space & The Universe

Six episodes exploring the vast, mysterious, and powerful universe we live in.

ByNOVA STAFFNOVA NextNOVA Next
The Planets - Overview

Hello, NOVA fans! We understand that many of you may be spending more quality time at home than usual. And, as schools across the country close, fostering student learning at home is a top priority.

In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be sharing collections of some of our favorite NOVA films—all organized by subject to make online bingeing, learning, and entertainment as easy as possible for science lovers of all ages.

Astronomy-aficionados get ready: The subject of this collection is “Space & The Universe.” And starting Thursday, April 2, come back to our home planet for a collection of NOVA shows that explore what makes it such a unique and powerful place: Planet Earth.

The Planets series (2019)

The life of our solar system told in five dramatic stories spanning billions of years. In this five-part series, NOVA will explore the awesome beauty of “The Planets,” including Saturn’s 175,000-mile-wide rings, Mars’ ancient waterfalls four times the size of any found on Earth, and Neptune’s winds—12 times stronger than any hurricane felt on our planet. Using unique special effects and extraordinary footage captured by orbiters, landers, and rovers, we’ll treat viewers to an up-close look at these faraway worlds.

Black Hole Apocalypse (2018)

Black holes are the most enigmatic and exotic objects in the universe. They’re also the most powerful, with gravity so strong it can trap light. And they’re destructive, swallowing entire planets, even giant stars. Anything that falls into them vanishes…gone forever. Now, astrophysicists are realizing that black holes may be essential to how our universe evolved—their influence possibly leading to life on Earth and, ultimately, us. In this two-hour special, astrophysicist and author Janna Levin takes viewers on a journey to the frontiers of black hole science.

Apollo’s Daring Mission (2018)

Apollo astronauts and engineers tell the inside story of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon. The U.S. space program suffered a bitter setback when Apollo 1 ended in a deadly fire during a pre-launch run-through. In disarray, and threatened by the prospect of a Soviet Union victory in the space race, NASA decided upon a radical and risky change of plan: turn Apollo 8 from an earth-orbit mission into a daring sprint to the moon while relying on untried new technologies. Fifty years after the historic mission, the Apollo 8 astronauts and engineers recount the feats of engineering that paved the way to the moon.

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The universe is hiding something. In fact, it’s hiding a lot. Everything we experience on Earth, the stars, and galaxies we see in the cosmos—all the “normal” matter and energy that we understand—make up only 5% of the known universe. The other 95% is made up of two mysterious components: “dark matter” and “dark energy.” We can’t see them, but we know they’re there. And what’s more—these two shadowy ingredients are locked in an epic battle to control the very fate of the universe.

Finding Life Beyond Earth (2011)

Take a spectacular trip to distant realms of our solar system to discover where secret forms of life may lie hidden. Combining the latest telescope images with dazzling animation, this program immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while top astrobiologists explain how these places are changing how we think about the potential for life in our solar system. We used to think our neighboring planets and moons were fairly boring—mostly cold, dead rocks where life could never take hold. Today, however, the solar system looks wilder than we ever imagined.

Fabric of the Cosmos, hosted by Brian Greene (2011)

Acclaimed physicist Brian Greene reveals a mind-boggling reality beneath the surface of our everyday world. "The Fabric of the Cosmos," a four-hour series based on the book by renowned physicist and author Brian Greene, takes us to the frontiers of physics to see how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time, and the universe. With each step, audiences will discover that just beneath the surface of our everyday experience lies a world we'd hardly recognize—a startling world far stranger and more wondrous than anyone expected.

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Funding for NOVA Next is provided by the Eleanor and Howard Morgan Family Foundation.

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