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Season 17 1990 - 1989

  • 1990-01-10T03:00:00+01:00 on PBS
  • 60 mins
  • 22 hours, 0 mins
  • United States
  • English
  • Documentary

Seen in more than 100 countries, NOVA is the most watched science television series in the world and the most watched documentary series on PBS. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over.


21 episodes

17x01 Poison in the Rockies

  • Season Premiere

    1990-01-10T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Poison in the Rockies from the show NOVA is an episode focused on the damage that decades of mining operations in the Rockies have inflicted on the local environment. It covers other problems such as the acid rain that afflicts the region, but concentrates on the harmful chemicals entering the surrounding states' water supplies from mining drainage

17x02 Race for the Top

  • 1990-01-24T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

If you're like most people, you've never heard of a quark. The top quark is likely the fundamental root of all matter. No scientist has ever been able to observe or document them. Scientists in the US and Europe are attempting to identify the top quark with some of the most massive machinery on Earth

17x03 Disguises of War

  • 1990-02-07T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

In season 7, episode 13 "Disguises of War," Nova examines the various means of camouflage used in warfare to disguise weaponry and troops. The methods of camouflage which are shown range from the basic patterns used in soldier's uniforms to the incredibly complex technology used in stealth bombers to defeat radar detection.

17x04 The Bomb's Lethal Legacy

  • 1990-02-14T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

NOVA heads to Washington state to examine the Hanfrod Nuclear Reservation, a nuclear waste facility with a lot of problems. The environment and ecology take a center stage, as NOVA investigates how a 45-year mismanaged facility affects the environment and what steps need to be taken to correct the problems at the government agency.

17x05 The Big Spill

  • 1990-02-28T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill takes a center stage when NOVA heads to Alaska to find out how technology contributed to one of the world's largest oil spills. Cameras board the Valdez with expert scientists to film the supertanker's instruments and to get opinions on how some advanced gadgets, which were designed to protect the ship, failed in preventing the disaster

In The Genius That Was China: Rise of the Dragon (1) episode of the television program NOVA, the show explores the history of the planet's most populous country. As early as the 13th century, China was the dominant technological, industrial and military power in the world. NOVA investigates how it was able to create and maintain its supremacy for hundreds of years.

This episode is part-two of NOVA's instigative report on China and the country's battle in keeping up with western technology. From the fifteenth to the eighteen century, European nations traveled westward to explore new countries to trade with. China excluded itself from its western neighbors, and NOVA wants to know why

This episode is part-three of NOVA's instigative report on China and the country's battle in keeping up with western technology. In the nineteenth century, the west won the trade war with Japan, lending the small country access to the world's latest technology. NOVA explores what effect this had in China, and why Tokyo and Beijing seem worlds apart

This episode is part-two of NOVA's instigative report on China and the country's battle in keeping up with western technology. The episode focuses on how the 1989 massacre of Chinese students led to sanctions, which contributed to the country's limited access to western expertise in the computer industry and its products

17x10 The KGB, The Computer and Me

  • 1990-10-03T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

This documentary covers the surprising tale of an average systems administrator who stumbled upon a KGB spy operation. Clifford Stoll carried out one of the first successful digital forensics investigations by tracking down Markus Hess, a KGB hacker, after noticing a discrepancy in the logs of a University of California computer.

17x11 Neptune's Cold Fury

  • 1990-10-10T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Neptune's Cold Fury is the second episode for season 18 of the show NOVA. In this episode, NOVA takes a look at the mysteries of this planet and why it took 12 years for the Voyager to reach it. Triton is the largest moon of Neptune and this episode examines the photos of it taken by Voyager 2 in 1989. Actor Patrick Stewart hosts

17x12 To Boldly Go...

  • 1990-10-17T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

The Voyager program is one of the United State's most ambitious space missions. The two unmanned probes are designed to seek out the boundaries of the known universe, going beyond Jupiter to transmit important scientific knowledge and advance human understanding. This episode of NOVA originally aired in the October of 1990.

17x13 Poisoned Winds of War

  • 1990-10-24T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

NOVA reports on chemical warfare and the cruel effect it has on human beings. In the early 20s, Germany developed an acid bomb, which was used against French soldiers during World War I. Since then, governments have secretly developed chemical bombs, and peace agencies around the world have tried to get them banned without success

17x14 The Blimp is Back!

  • 1990-10-31T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Nova looks at the history and future of dirigible airships, from the early rigid, giant zeppelins to the smaller nonrigid blimps taking to the skies, including the Liteship. Also shown, some unsuccessful hybrids including the Cyclocrane and the ill-fated Piasecki Heli-stat.

17x15 Earthquake!

  • 1990-11-07T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Earthquake! is a 1990 episode from the PBS science series NOVA that explores nature's frightening and destructive phenomenon of colliding land plates. Earthquakes can damage entire regions and trigger tsunamis but geologists still struggle to find the key to predicting them. The NOVA team interviews the scientists focused on solving this age-old puzzle.

17x16 Killing Machines

  • 1990-11-14T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

This episode originally aired in 1990. The NOVA team examines the possible future of robotic weaponry, which promises to expand the horizon of warfare in both positive and negative ways. Conflicts in the Middle East illustrate both the power of cutting edge weaponry, and the frightening drawbacks to overusing this technology

17x17 Can the Elephant Be Saved?

  • 1990-11-21T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Can the Elephant Be Saved? is a 1990 episode from the PBS series NOVA. The mighty elephant is the world's largest land mammal and also faces extinction. Scientists have developed many strategies to help save them, including a ban on ivory. The NOVA team explores the proposed solutions as well as the controversy surrounding them.

17x18 We Know Where You Live

  • 1990-11-28T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

This NOVA episode examines direct marketing, a phenomenon that affects thousands of people, yet remains mysterious to most civilians. Advertisers are able to keep detailed tabs on their potential consumers, managing to land targeted ads in their mailboxes each week. Researchers uncover the controversial secrets and complex formulas that allow direct marketing to thrive.

17x19 In the Land of the Llamas

  • 1990-12-05T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

NOVA profiles the llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco of South America. At one time nearly extinct, these four members of the camel family are exceptionally well adapted to life in the beautiful high Andes.

17x20 What's Killing the Children?

  • 1990-12-19T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

In a small Brazilian town, terror is all too real. Parents watch their children pass away unexpectedly as a brutal illness sweeps through their formerly peaceful village. When the locals cannot find a cure, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control travel from Atlanta to help rescue the children and defeat the disease.

17x21 Hurricane!

  • 1989-11-08T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

The episode describes the fury of a hurricane and the history of hurricane forecasting. The episode features footage of Hurricane Camille of 1969 and Hurricane Gilbert of 1988 and behind the scenes footage at the National Hurricane Center as forecasters tracked Hurricane Gilbert from its formation to its landfall in northern Mexico. Notable meteorologists, Hugh Willoughby, Bob Sheets (then director of the National Hurricane Center) and Jeff Masters were shown in the episode.