Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday?
Part of the Series: NOVA

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The Strangest Force
Begin your exploration of gravity with Isaac Newton and the famous story of the apple. Why was it such a breakthrough to connect a falling apple with the faraway moon? Review the essential characteristics of gravity and learn why small asteroids and large planets have such different shapes.
Resonance—Surprises in the Intricate Dance
Resonance happens whenever a small periodic force produces a large effect on a periodic motion--for example, when you push a child on a swing. Learn how resonance due to gravitational interactions between three bodies can lead to amazing phenomena with planets, asteroids, and rings of planets.
Gravitomagnetism and Gravitational Waves
The general theory of relativity predicts new phenomena of gravity analogous to those of electromagnetism. Discover how ultra-sensitive experiments have detected the gravitomagnetism of the Earth, and follow the search for elusive gravitational waves that travel through space.
Meteor Strike
Part of the Series: NOVA
A blinding flash of light streaked across the Russian sky, followed by a shuddering blast strong enough to damage buildings and send more than 1,000 people to the hospital. On the morning of February 15, 2013, a 7,000-ton asteroid crashed into the Earth's atmosphere. According to NASA, the Siberian meteor…
Cosmic Antigravity—Inflation and Dark Energy
In this episode, investigate cosmic antigravity, starting with cosmic inflation, a phenomenon that exponentially increased the size of the universe during the big bang. Then, learn why dark matter cannot be made of ordinary protons and neutrons, and explore the recent discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating,…
What Are Tides? Earth and Beyond
Trace the origin of tides to the simple fact that gravity varies from point to point in space. This leads not just to the rise and fall of the ocean, but to the gradual slowing of Earth's rotation, Saturn's spectacular ring system, volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io, and many other…
Stars in Their Courses—Orbital Mechanics
Newton was the first to realize that objects could, in theory, be sent into orbit around Earth. Explore how this works in practice, using the ideas of energy and angular momentum to study how satellites, moons, planets, and stars move through space.
Astronomy – Probing the First Stars & Galaxies
Part of the Series: Show Me Science Series - Advanced
Visible light, which can be seen with our eyes, comprises a small sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum. The rest of the spectrum, from short wavelength gamma rays to long-wavelength radio waves, requires special instruments to detect. ALMA uses and array of radio telescopes to detect and study radio waves from…
Near-Term Future Planet-Finding Projects
The success of exoplanetary science has spurred a wave of new projects to increase our knowledge of worlds beyond our solar system. Survey ground- and space-based programs that are now in the works. Professor Winn gives a preview of a space mission that he and his MIT colleagues are designing.
Space Science - Everyday Astronauts
Part of the Series: Show Me Science Series - Advanced
With the retirement of NASA's space shuttle fleet in 2011, the role of getting people, satellites and other instruments into space falls to private companies. As of June 2011, there have been only 523 people to reach the 100 kilometer mark (considered human spaceflight), and only 24 have traveled beyond…
Journey of the Universe - An Epic Story of Cosmic, Earth and Human Transformation
One day on a Greek island, and your view of the universe will change forever... Ask acclaimed author and evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme about our role as humans in this awe-inspiring universe, and his insights will light up the night skies. As our host, co-writer, and fellow traveler, he…
Inexplicable Space
Shoot off into the stars for an investigation of some perplexing aspects of space that science has uncovered in the last half-century. Learn about the mysterious trajectory of the Pioneer spacecraft (known as the "Pioneer anomaly"). Explore two of the longest-standing problems in modern astrophysics: dark matter and dark energy.…