July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016. Aviator, engineer, astronaut, US Senator. The first American to orbit Earth. The oldest person to fly in space.
In late 2014 and early 2015, NASA’s Kepler telescope observed the eighth planet in our solar system, Neptune. Kepler detected Neptune’s daily rotation, the movement of clouds, and even minute changes in the sun’s brightness, paving the way for future studies of weather and climate beyond our solar system.
Video from NASA.
This movie shows the new 3D map of the age of the Greenland ice sheet, using a collage of live footage and animation to explain how scientists determined the age from data collected by ice-penetrating radar.
Video from NASA
Scientists have long suspected the solar wind of stripping the Martian upper atmosphere into space, turning Mars from a blue world to a red one. Now, NASA’s MAVEN orbiter is observing this process in action, providing significant data on solar wind erosion at Mars.
Video from NASA
The Cassini spacecraft, having flown through the Saturn system for almost twenty years, is nearing the end of its mission. On September 15th, Cassini will enter Saturn’s atmosphere, relaying data from eight of its twelve instruments until the spacecraft breaks up. This revolutionary project is now considered one of the greatest space missions of all time, on a parr with Voyager and Apollo. It has amassed one of the greatest photographic collections on record, with stunning details of moons, rings, and the giant planet itself. Just as scientists say goodbye to this historic experiment, they are getting ready for a deluge of revealing new data. In this video, they also take the time to reflect on Cassini’s many accomplishments and what it has meant to science and humanity itself.
Video from NASA
NASA launched the twin Voyager spacecraft in the late summer of 1977, These remote ambassadors still beam messages back to Earth 40 years later. After delivering unprecedented views of the outer planets, they are now sending back data from beyond the solar system. How many millennia, how many millions of years will their journey last?
After dumping tens of trillions of gallons of water on Texas, Hurricane Harvey swamped millions out of their homes. No one was spared: Black, White, Asian, Latino, Rich, Poor, and scraping by. The men and women of the Armed Services led battalions of volunteers who set to work with only one thought in mind: I Will Rescue You. The expressions on faces tell stories ranging from quiet heroism, to despair and profound relief.
As the Cassini-Huygens mission winds down to its Grand Finale, we recognize it as one of the greatest voyages of discovery in the history of science. We have learned and discovered more things about a previously unknown dynamic system–a system that’s a billion miles from us: the Saturn system–than we ever could have imagined.
One of the pinnacles of that has been the discoveries on Titan. Titan has turned out to be a very complex world. It has geology. It has methane rain. It has lakes and seas. It has dunes of organic molecules. And it has a lot more secrets that it’s still hiding from us. I think that really what makes people so excited about Titan is this combination of familiarity and alienness.
There is a strand in contemporary astronomy that aims to survey and map the universe on larger and larger scales, going all the way back to the beginning of time. In this video, Josh Frieman, Director of the Dark Energy Survey and Astrophysics Professor at the University of Chicago, describes the promise these projects hold for understanding the hidden dynamic of the cosmos, including the identity and influence of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and whether Albert Einstein’s theories are correct.
A startling collision in an ancient galaxy slews Earth’s largest telescopes to a spot in the Hydra constellation. Two rapidly spinning neutron stars have violently merged to form a possible black hole. And, for the first time, astronomers see its electromagnetic flash and hear its gravitational thunder as they watch new elements being born.
Narrator: Perry Anne Norton
Writer / Director: @DavidSkyBrody
Executive Producer: Thomas Lucas