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"The Universe" Sort by
In episode 3, Artemis arrives on the exoplanet Minerva B, but will she find evidence of life? This is a vision of our future, the fateful day in a far-flung corner of the universe, when a probe from Earth initiates the first descent onto an alien world, looking for proof of life beyond our solar system.
There are no witnesses, no cheering crowds in the control room. A decade or more will pass before news finally reaches us, back across the dark oceans of space. But the seeds of this mission are already being sowed today by the first generation of scientists bold enough to believe it could be possible.
The Invisible Universe
It is one of the most unnerving discoveries in space science - that most of the universe is missing. We live in a material world, so instinctively we know what normal matter is - the world around us, the planets, stars and interstellar dust. But scientists currently estimate that 95 per cent of everything in the universe is actually - one way or another - invisible.
Some of this is ordinary matter that we just can't easily see. But there's also stuff that's much more weird. For instance, there's a new kind of matter we think is out there, but whose very existence is still largely hypothetical - dark matter. And most mysteriously of all, scientists think there is an unknown form of energy pervading the universe that we know so little about, all it has so far is a name - dark energy. Embark on a tour of this invisible universe, and shows how its existence - or lack of it - will define the fate of the entire universe.
The Sky at Night
What is our future
Professor Brian Cox concludes his exploration of our place in the universe by asking what next for the ape that went to space. Our future is far from certain. In Florida, Brian joins the latest efforts to protect Earth from potential catastrophic events. He joins a team of Nasa astronauts who are training for a future mission to an asteroid - should we ever discover one coming our way - under 30 feet of water in a submerged laboratory that simulates space. It is just one example of how, for our long-term survival, space exploration may well be vital. It is a view shared by Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke, who tells Brian what it was like to escape the confines of the planet. It is a dream that both Nasa and now commercial companies share as they race to get humans back into deep space.
But space travel, like every leap our civilisation has ever made, requires energy. Here too, scientists are hard at work attempting to safeguard our future. At the National Ignition Facility in California, Brian witnesses the world's most successful fusion experiment in action. He believes that if their mission succeeds, our civilisation will have unlocked a way to the stars that will not destroy the planet in the process. Brian concludes by returning to the top of the world in Svalbard, where he gains access to our civilisation's greatest treasure, locked away in a vault buried deep in the permafrost.
Mystery Signal from Space
2018 Science HD
Deep in the mountains of West Virginia, the Green Bank Observatory has been receiving a mysterious signal from deep space. A team of astronomers has been detecting high-energy bursts erupting from unknown sources far off in space since years ago. But one of them is different from the rest. They call it FRB 121102.
What is actually giving rise to this very powerful flash? Could this be a message from an advanced civilization, or is it a much stranger and violent occurrence? Visit the largest steerable radio telescope on the planet for answers.
Weirder and Weirder
Dr Hannah Fry explores a paradox at the heart of modern maths, discovered by Bertrand Russell, which undermines the very foundations of logic that all of maths is built on. These flaws suggest that maths isn't a true part of the universe but might just be a human language - fallible and imprecise. However, Hannah argues that Einstein's theoretical equations, such as E=mc2 and his theory of general relativity, are so good at predicting the universe that they must be reflecting some basic structure in it. This idea is supported by Kurt Godel, who proved that there are parts of maths that we have to take on faith.
Hannah then explores what maths can reveal about the fundamental building blocks of the universe - the subatomic, quantum world. The maths tells us that particles can exist in two states at once, and yet quantum physics is at the core of photosynthesis and therefore fundamental to most of life on earth - more evidence of discovering mathematical rules in nature. But if we accept that maths is part of the structure of the universe, there are two main problems: firstly, the two main theories that predict and describe the universe - quantum physics and general relativity - are actually incompatible; and secondly, most of the maths behind them suggests the likelihood of something even stranger - multiple universes.
We may just have to accept that the world really is weirder than we thought, and Hannah concludes that while we have invented the language of maths, the structure behind it all is something we discover. And beyond that, it is the debate about the origins of maths that has had the most profound consequences: it has truly transformed the human experience, giving us powerful new number systems and an understanding that now underpins the modern world.
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