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The World Set Free

   2014    Nature
This episode explores the nature of the greenhouse effect (discovered by Joseph Fourier and Svante Arrhenius), and the evidence demonstrating the existence of global warming from humanity's influence. Tyson begins by describing the long-term history of the planet Venus; based on readings from the Venera series of probes to the planet, the planet had once had an ocean and an atmosphere, but due to the release of carbon dioxide from volcanic eruptions, the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus caused the surface temperatures to increase and boiled away the oceans. Tyson then notes the delicate nature of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can influence Earth's climate due to the greenhouse effect, and that levels of carbon dioxide have been increasing since the start of the 20th century. Evidence has shown this to be from mankind's consumption of oil, coal, and gas instead of from volcanic eruptions due to the isotopic signature of the carbon dioxide. The increase in carbon dioxide has led to an increase in temperatures, in turn leading to positive feedback loops of the melting polar ice caps and dethawing of the permafrost to increase carbon dioxide levels. Tyson then notes that humans have discovered means of harvesting solar power, such as Augustin Mouchot's solar-driven motor in the 19th century, and Frank Shuman's solar-based steam generator in the 1910's. Tyson points out that in both cases, the economics and ease of using cheap coal and oil caused these inventions to be overlooked at the time. Today, solar and wind-power systems would be able to collect enough solar energy from the sun easily. Tyson then compares the motivation for switching to these cleaner forms of energy to the efforts of the Space race and emphasizes that it is not too late for humanity to correct its course.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Are Aliens Inside Us

   2015    Culture
Odds are excellent that extraterrestrial life exists. So why haven’t we found aliens out in the galaxy? Are we looking in the wrong places? New research shows we should look closer to home, even inside our bodies. It turns out that a lot of our DNA is from a mysterious, nonhuman source. Theoretically, alien microbial life can make the journey to Earth from distant worlds, and scientists are finding some unearthly microbes in our upper atmosphere. Could it be from outer space? Could we be part alien? It’s even possible alien life is already here as digital life forms, hiding inside our technology.
Series: Through the Wormhole Season 6

Seasonal Forests

   2007    Nature
The Taiga forest, on the edge of the Arctic, is a silent world of stunted conifers. The trees may be small but filming from the air reveals its true scale. A third of all trees on Earth grow here and during the short summer they produce enough oxygen to change the atmosphere. In California General Sherman, a giant sequoia, is the largest living thing on the planet, ten times the size of a blue whale. The oldest organisms alive are bristlecone pines. At more than 4,000 years old they pre-date the pyramids. But the baobab forests of Madagascar are perhaps the strangest of all.
Series: Planet Earth

Alien Moons

   2007    Science
Travel from the inner solar system to the Kuiper Belt and explore the moons surrounding the planets of the solar system. Many of these moons that were once unknown are now on the cutting edge of astronomical study. Some burst with volcanic fury another spews icy geysers and others offer the possibility of alien life. Are these strange worlds simply hostile environments unfit for humans or do other possibilities exist? Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
Series: The Universe

Colonizing Space

   2008    Technology
Space colonization is no longer the fodder of science fiction, it is becoming a reality. Examine the efforts underway to establish a human colony on Mars, including how they plan to grow food, recycle wastewater and introduce greenhouse gases to revive the red planet and make it more habitable for humans. Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth to show what life would be like on Mars, and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.
Series: The Universe

Wind

   2010    Science
Iain sets sail on one of the fastest racing boats ever built to explore the story of our turbulent relationship with the wind. Travelling to iconic locations including the Sahara desert, the coast of West Africa and the South Pacific, Iain discovers how people have exploited the power of the wind for thousands of years. The wind is a force which at first sight appears chaotic. But the patterns that lie within the atmosphere have shaped the destiny of continents, and lie at the heart of some of the greatest turning points in human history.
Series: How Earth Made Us
Senna

Senna

   2010    Culture
How Art Made the World

How Art Made the World

   2006    Art
Leaving Neverland

Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture
Secrets of the Dead

Secrets of the Dead

   2017    History
The Truth About

The Truth About

   2018    Medicine
Tiger

Tiger

   2020    History
Through the Wormhole Season 6

Through the Wormhole Season 6

   2015    Science
Reel Rock

Reel Rock

   2014    Culture