The Best Episodes of The Universe

Worst Days on Planet Earth

#1 - Worst Days on Planet Earth 8.50

Season 6 - Episode 5

Earth may seem like the most hospitable planet in the solar system. But look again. Startling new discoveries reveal the blue planet has been plagued by more chaos and destruction than scientists once imagined. Stand on the Earth billions of years ago as a primitive planet slams into it. Shiver as our entire globe is frozen over like a gigantic snowball. Feel the heat as mammoth volcanoes scorch the landscape and darken the sky. From a cosmic gamma ray burst frying away the ozone layer to an Everest-size asteroid slamming into the ocean, we'll reveal new information about how these unparalleled events drove life to the brink of total extinction. Out of this continuous devastation, how has our planet--and life--got to where it is today? Are the worst days behind us--or lurking in the distant future?

Dark Future of the Sun

#2 - Dark Future of the Sun 8.38

Season 5 - Episode 8

A look at the grim future of our home star, the sun, and what might happen to it five billion years in the future. Also the results of the growing sun as it kills life, including humans, if they were still around.

Cosmic Apocalypse

#3 - Cosmic Apocalypse 8.37

Season 2 - Episode 18

The Universe as we know it is condemned to death. Space, matter and even time will one day cease to exist and there's nothing we can do about it. Harsh realities are revealed about the future of our Universe; it may collapse and burn or it might be gripped by a galactic ice age. Either of these scenarios might be a long way off. However, our Universe could suddenly be destroyed by a "random quantum fluctuation", a bubble of destruction that can obliterate the entire cosmos in the blink of an eye. No matter how it ends, life in our Universe is doomed.

Microscopic Universe

#4 - Microscopic Universe 8.36

Season 7 - Episode 5

The key to understanding the universe seems to be understanding its smallest components. But reconciling the two has proved to be a tremendous scientific challenges as the behavior in the quantum realm bears little resemblance to the universe we know. This program explains some of the strange behavior scientists have discovered at the smallest scales.

Catastrophes that Changed the Planets

#5 - Catastrophes that Changed the Planets 8.34

Season 6 - Episode 1

The planets of our solar system have experienced epic catastrophes throughout their long history, both raining down from outside and bubbling up from within. We'll voyage back in time to investigate the violent events that profoundly shaped the planets, including earth itself. We'll witness stunning revelations about what transformed Mars into a barren, hostile desert...The disaster that changed Venus from temperate to hellish...The impact that blew away Mercury's mantle, turning it into a planetary core...A colossal disturbance that rearranged the orbits of the gas giants...Titanic impacts on Jupiter...And how a lost moon may finally explain Saturn's rings.

When Space Changed History

#6 - When Space Changed History 8.22

Season 7 - Episode 7

It may seem like seem like science fiction, but the cosmos isn't just something way out there. Many times in human history, objects or forces from space have changed the course of life on earth.

Ride the Comet

#7 - Ride the Comet 8.20

Season 7 - Episode 6

Board a virtual space ship to travel along with a variety of comets; long and short period, sun grazers, comets masquerading as asteroids and comets still in deep freeze in the Oort cloud. Then ride along on the NASA probes that visited nearby comets.

Biggest Blasts

#8 - Biggest Blasts 8.18

Season 4 - Episode 4

An examination of the most powerful explosions and blasts in the universe. Includes a look at the Mexico's Yucatán peninsula and the impact which caused the Chicxulub crater. Also a look at gamma rays and Big Bang Theory.

Space Travel

#9 - Space Travel 8.17

Season 2 - Episode 8

When man finally broke free of the Earth's gravitational pull the dream of traveling to other planets became a reality. Today scientists are proposing a bizarre array of technologies in the hope of traveling faster through space, from space craft sporting sails that catch laser beams, to propulsion engines powered by a bizarre entity known as anti-matter.

Mars: The New Evidence

#10 - Mars: The New Evidence 8.17

Season 5 - Episode 2

A look for evidence of life on Mars which provides many clues that it now, or once had supported it; from the remains of lakes and rivers that once flowed on the surface; to the water ice frozen at the poles; to the seasonal changes in methane gases that may prove bacterial life still thrives underground.

Life and Death of a Star

#11 - Life and Death of a Star 8.13

Season 1 - Episode 10

Ignited by the power of the atom, burning with light, heat and wrath, stars are anything but peaceful. They collide, devour each other, and explode in enormous supernovas--the biggest explosions in the Universe.

Directors: Douglas J. Cohen
Beyond the Big Bang

#12 - Beyond the Big Bang 8.13

Season 1 - Episode 14

The universe began with a massive expansion, billions and billions of years ago, and it continues to expand with every passing second. The idea that the universe, and man's very existence, began with a "Big Bang" is no longer a topic of debate among most scientists--it is essentially taken as fact.

Directors: Luke Ellis
Cosmic Holes

#13 - Cosmic Holes 8.11

Season 2 - Episode 2

We know black holes exist, and now scientists are trying to confirm that other holes lurk in hyperspace.

Directors: Laura Verklan
The Milky Way

#14 - The Milky Way 8.11

Season 2 - Episode 4

We used to think that Earth was at the center of the universe, but now we know we're not even at the center of our own galaxy. Countless wonders exist between where earth is situated and the massive black hole at the galactic center of our solar system. Within the Milky Way can be found the debris of old, dying stars fueling the birth of new stars and at the galactic center hypervelocity stars get catapulted clear beyond the Milky Way's outer rim at unimaginable speeds. Come along for a guided tour of 100,000 light-year-wide family of stars and stellar phenomena we call The Milky Way.

The Search for Cosmic Clusters

#15 - The Search for Cosmic Clusters 8.10

Season 4 - Episode 7

They are the one-stop-shopping places for learning all about the nature and variety of stars in the Universe. They're unique, because in clusters, all the stars were born at about the same time, from the same material and all are at the same approximate distance from Earth. This means we can be sure that any differences among them are due to their true natures and not distorted by different distances from Earth and other factors.

Wildest Weather Of The Cosmos

#16 - Wildest Weather Of The Cosmos 8.08

Season 2 - Episode 15

Imagine a tornado so powerful, it can form a planet or how about rain made of iron.

Extreme Energy

#17 - Extreme Energy 8.06

Season 4 - Episode 12

Ours is a universe of energy, from powerful jets ejected from black holes to the raw nuclear fury of our Sun. But, the total amount of energy in the universe maintains perfect equilibrium--no more can be added or taken away. Because of this, there are enormous amounts of energy being transferred...electric, thermal, kinetic and magnetic energy are just a few that keep our universe balanced--and create awesome cosmic events and stellar displays.

The Hunt for Ringed Planets

#18 - The Hunt for Ringed Planets 8.06

Season 4 - Episode 5

They are breathtaking, lethal and a constant source of surprise. The stunning rings of Saturn have mesmerized countless scientists over the centuries. With particles the size of a house shooting at 53,000 miles per hour around the planet, any spacecraft passing through would meet an instant and catastrophic end. Inside the rings is like a NASCAR race - with bumping, jostling and frequent collisions that can cause a massive spin-out. Lesser known are the other planets that have rings - Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, possibly Pluto and Mars. Even Earth has a ring. Comprised of some 200 satellites in a geosynchronous orbit, it is the only known man-made ring in the universe. But the most remarkable thing about rings is that they contain the story of the birth of our solar system, and entire distant galaxies. Rings are more than a wonder of the universe - they reveal the secrets of our own origins.

Deep Freeze

#19 - Deep Freeze 8.05

Season 7 - Episode 4

This episode discusses the coldest places in the universe from labs on earth to super cold places in our solar system, galaxy and beyond.

Crash Landing on Mars

#20 - Crash Landing on Mars 8.04

Season 6 - Episode 4

What might happen if the first manned mission to Mars crashes hundreds of miles from the rocket that would take them back home? Could they survive the crash, and travel across the brutal Martian surface to their home ship? We'll show what the astronauts would have to do to survive dust storms and space radiation, while extracting vital resources like water from the Martian soil itself. It's a dramatic vision of the very near future, where survival can depend on pre-industrial technology and human ingenuity.


#21 - Gravity 8.04

Season 2 - Episode 17

Explore how science and humanity discovered, overcame and utilized gravity.

The Day the Moon Was Gone

#22 - The Day the Moon Was Gone 8.04

Season 4 - Episode 2

Without the moon, Earth would be a very different and desolate place today--four hours of sunlight with pitch-black nights, steady 100-mph winds spawning giant hurricanes that last for months, and virtually no complex life forms, much less humans. Safe to say, we probably owe our very existence to the moon. But what if it suddenly disappeared?

It Fell from Space

#23 - It Fell from Space 8.03

Season 4 - Episode 3

Every year, thousands of objects both natural and manmade plummet through our atmosphere and crash into the Earth. These menacing messengers from the sky provide scientists with amazing insights into the natural, and not so natural, phenomena of the cosmos. From space rocks crashing through homes to cosmic boulders triggering mass extinctions to rocket parts landing on front lawns, explore objects that fall from the heavens, such as asteroids, comets, meteor showers and space debris.

How Big, How Far, How Fast

#24 - How Big, How Far, How Fast 8.02

Season 7 - Episode 1

The biggest objects, farthest distances, and fastest speeds are made relatable through extreme physical analogies.

Edge of Space

#25 - Edge of Space 8.02

Season 3 - Episode 11

The majority of space exploration has occurred in Low Earth Orbit, around 120 miles above sea level. For a cool $20 million, any person can take a ride on the International Space Station, around the 1,100 mile band around Earth. Commercial prospects for LEO are huge, there are big dangers lurking for anyone interested in traveling this way, such as radiation, , cosmic rays, and space debris numbering in the thousands threaten any spacecraft traveling in orbit. It's a new frontier and maybe the final frontier, and the possibilities are endless if you are willing to travel to the edge of space exploration.