Known Universe

The BEST episodes of Known Universe

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Ever wondered what would happen if you were sucked into a black hole? Or, if wormholes could make time travel a reality? And could life on Earth survive a huge meteor strike like the one that took out the dinosaurs? This series combines the most current scientific information, cutting-edge computer graphics, dramatic time-lapse sequences and everyday examples to shed light on some of the most mind-boggling aspects of our universe.

Last Updated: 5/21/2022Network: National Geographic
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Final Frontiers
star
8.21
162 votes

#1 - Final Frontiers

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired 5/6/2010

More than 70 percent of Earth is covered in water, but we've only explored roughly 5 percent of it. We've roamed even less of our solar system. Now, armed with some of the latest advances in technology, we join scientists on a voyage into the unknown - from the far reaches of space to the extreme depths of our oceans - where new discoveries have experts questioning everything we know about the universe, and ultimately ourselves.

Watch Now:Amazon
Stellar Storms
star
8.14
163 votes

#2 - Stellar Storms

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired 4/8/2010

Earth's weather is compared to that of other planets; cataclysmic space weather that could cripple life on Earth.

Watch Now:Amazon
Cosmic Fury
star
7.84
130 votes

#3 - Cosmic Fury

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired 5/13/2010

Earthquakes and volcanoes pose an unpredictable and deadly threat here on Earth, but they also occur far out in the universe. What can we learn from these interplanetary phenomena that may help us predict when Mother Nature will next unleash her fury? Scientists are looking to Io, a moon of Jupiter that is jam-packed with volcanoes, for insights. Then we'll travel deep under the Earth's crust to see the physical source of these catastrophic events.

Watch Now:Amazon
Decoding The Skies
star
7.79
160 votes

#4 - Decoding The Skies

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 4/29/2010

Our ancestors' relationship with the heavens led to some of mankind's ancient discoveries and greatest creations. The ancient Greeks discovered Earth was round; the Polynesians used the sun and stars to navigate vast oceans in simple canoes; some think amazing structures like Stonehenge were designed to observe the sky. Now, Known Universe examines mankind's first observations of the cosmos to understand how they put us on the path to modern discovery.

Watch Now:Amazon
Treasure Hunt
star
7.79
75 votes

#5 - Treasure Hunt

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 5/12/2011

Join a treasure hunt of cosmic proportions, with a diamond mine on Neptune?! Known Universe explores innovative ideas that could allow humans to harness raw materials in space. One concept includes using Kevlar ribbons to anchor astronauts to asteroids containing more metal than has been excavated in all of human history. And see how meteorites have created huge deposits of gold and other precious metals here on Earth.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Most Explosive
star
7.77
136 votes

#6 - The Most Explosive

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 2/15/2009

Scientists believe that our universe started with a colossal explosion called the Big Bang. That powerful blast created all the matter and energy in the universe and laid the groundwork for every explosion since.

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The Fastest
star
7.76
199 votes

#7 - The Fastest

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 2/15/2009

In the vast expanse of space, nothing matters more than speed. Whether we’re venturing out to the farthest reaches of our solar system or exploring the mysteries of time travel and wormholes, speed is the key.

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Most Powerful Stars
star
7.73
83 votes

#8 - Most Powerful Stars

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 5/19/2011

This episode of Known Universe explores how a star becomes even more powerful in its violent supernova death, and how the most intense place in the universe may not be a star at all... but a black hole. We'll also delve into how these powerful stars affect the planets around them, from the utter devastation of their enormous amounts of energy, to the possibility of creating the ideal environment for life.

Watch Now:Amazon
Escaping Earth
star
7.65
72 votes

#9 - Escaping Earth

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 6/16/2011

We've landed on the moon, and launched probes to study planets hundreds of millions of miles away. But when it comes to space travel, were just babes in the woods. Of the hundreds of launches we've made into space, only a handful have even left Earths gravity. So whats the problem? Well, for one, its a huge challenge just getting off the planet. If you want to get into space you have to fly fast and high. Find out just how tough and complicated future space travel can be.

Watch Now:Amazon
Surviving Outer Space
star
7.65
74 votes

#10 - Surviving Outer Space

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 5/5/2011

The human body thrives on the welcome confines of Earth, but in space, survival becomes a tense, daily challenge. Micro-gravity's effects on daily human activity, from eating to sleep to sex, are just beginning to be understood. But these are only the start of our problems well also explore how the vacuum of space and its near-zero pressure can kill us within minutes, if not seconds. And the ultimate space executioner may be the ever-present dangers of solar radiation. How will we overcome the odds and survive space.

Watch Now:Amazon
Construction Zone
star
7.38
96 votes

#11 - Construction Zone

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired 6/9/2011

Engineering in space represents the future of human civilization, but also poses some of our greatest technical difficulties. We'll travel to NASA's tool lab and see the equipment we need to build in this challenging environment, from high tech wrenches and hammers to the ultimate robotic handyman, Robonaut.

Watch Now:Amazon
Biggest Cosmic Blasts
star
7.31
39 votes

#12 - Biggest Cosmic Blasts

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired 6/2/2011

Volcanic eruptions aren't unique to Earth they are common throughout the solar system. Eruptions are capable of both destruction and creation, and we'll see their astonishing effects on humans and entire galaxies. We'll head to the big island of Hawaii to get up close and personal with one of the most active lava fields on the planet. Is there a way to predict when the next catastrophic eruption might occur?

Watch Now:Amazon
Alien Contact
star
7.28
197 votes

#13 - Alien Contact

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired 4/15/2010

Are we alone? It's an age-old question that was relatively "taboo" in mainstream science until the mid-1990s, when astronomers found planets outside our solar system. Now, Known Universe joins the hunt for alien life as scientists search for planets with similar characteristics to Earth's. We'll take you on a journey to find planets that may support life and show you new space-based technologies that aid in the search for advanced alien civilizations.

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Cosmic Collisions
star
7.25
165 votes

#14 - Cosmic Collisions

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 4/1/2010

The collisions that created Earth and the moon; the people who work to stave off the apocalypse; violent impacts deep in the cosmos.

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End of the World
star
7.25
69 votes

#15 - End of the World

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired 6/23/2011

The world didn't end on 5/21/11 as some feared, but someday it will, and not just on Earth, but for asteroids, comets, moons, planets, stars and everything in our Known Universe. To demonstrate this complex cycle of life and death, scientist David Kaplan watches the destruction of a 16-story building shattering the structure while creating new matter and debris. We'll also see how a wildfire compares to the ignition of a supernova deep in space, and step inside a black hole simulator.

Watch Now:Amazon
Extreme Space Tech
star
7.13
100 votes

#16 - Extreme Space Tech

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 5/26/2011

Humans have come to recognize Earth as an environment where we are in control. Were continually creating technologies that get bigger, faster, and make us more interconnected. In this episode of KNOWN UNIVERSE we'll explore how science is re-thinking the physics of the universe to take everything from basic household items and vehicles to our most advanced technologies here on Earth and transform them for use in space.

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The Biggest and Smallest
star
7.08
197 votes

#17 - The Biggest and Smallest

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 2/15/2009

From the enormous universe in which we exist to tiny atoms that make up the building blocks of everything around us, size matters when it comes to understanding the cosmos.

Watch Now:Amazon