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.
Beneath the grassland plains of the Kalahari lies a hidden world of rare and exotic animals. By day, the Kalahari belongs to familiar predators and grazing animals. At night, the earth seems to release scores of seldom seen nocturnal creatures—Bush Babies, Brown Hyenas, Aardvarks and Fungal Termites—in search of food.
Perfectly preserved 3000-year-old mummies have been unearthed in a remote Chinese desert. They have long, blonde hair and blue eyes, and don't appear to be the ancestors of the modern-day Chinese people. Who are these people and how did they end up in China's Takla Makan desert? NOVA takes a glimpse through a crack in the door of history, to a past that has never before been seen outside of China.
The race to build the world's first supersonic passenger airliner led to a massive espionage effort during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the west. The Soviets started years behind the Concorde team, but espionage enabled Konkordski to beat Concorde into the air by three months. Now, NOVA reveals the cause behind the fatal Konkordski disaster at the 1973 Paris Air Show, which put the Soviet's work on the plane in a deep freeze. In a twist of fate, Konkordski is being resurrected in a NASA initiative to build the second generation of supersonic jets.
Tapping into the clearly demonstrated affection we all have for our pets, this program will offer an offbeat, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad portrait of pets, their owners, and the veterinarians who treat our beloved animals' ailments. From race horses under the knife for cancer treatment, to Manhattan hounds on Prozac, to anorexic boa constrictors, we will show how cutting edge veterinary medicine is saving lives, and draw viewers into the mini-dramas that unfold each day in homes, in zoos, and in veterinary hospitals across the country.
In this scientific mystery, NOVA ventures to the front lines of medical research where scientists are scrambling to understand the strange new ailment popularly known as "mad cow disease." Highly infectious and incurable, this disease has claimed the lives of nearly a million cattle in Britain, and a variant is responsible for a handful of deaths in humans. Millions more people may have been exposed, and now the race is on to determine if we are on the brink of another deadly epidemic like AIDS or Ebola. What scientists are finding is making them rethink many fundamental assumptions about epidemiology and may hold startling implications for public health in the future.
NOVA treks with a group of Himalayan climbers in their quest to reach the summit of Everest, along the way exploring in never-before-conducted tests how extremes of weather and altitude affect the human mind and body. Why do some people succumb so quickly to the ills caused by high altitude while others do not? Does exposure to extreme hypoxia—or lack of oxygen—take a lasting toll on the mind and body? Images of the brain scanned before and after the expedition may reveal truths about the physical traumas suffered in an oxygen-depleted environment, and give us new insight into why the tallest mountain in the world has claimed so many victims.
NOVA follows an international team of archaeologists and spelunkers into the Rio la Venta Gorge deep in the Chiapas jungle of Central America. In a rugged canyon they find caves filled with startling remains of a people called the Zoque who lived hundreds of years before the Maya. The extreme inaccessibility and relative dryness of the caves has preserved rare artifacts including bones, clothes, rope, and jewelry. Moving downstream from the caves the team finds a legendary city hidden in a tangle of jungle vines. Evidence of the Zoque's sophisticated writing system and their practice of ritualistic cannibalism and child sacrifice is shedding new light on a little known civilization.
Could the earth as we know it be about to drown? Huge ice sheets in Antarctica may be in the process of collapse, triggering a catastrophic rise in sea level that will inundate the most populous regions of the world. Battle extreme weather conditions in Antarctica with NOVA scientists as they gather data that will reveal new insight into the nature of global climate change.
An unprecedented look at a dangerous predator, this is the second of three natural history programs hosted by Sir David Attenborough. Surviving virtually unchanged since the days of the dinosaur and found throughout the world, these remarkable creatures have the tools for survival. Long known as vicious hunters, new photographic techniques now allow us to see them cooperating with each other and protecting their families. From tiny babies hatching from the shell we see them grow into great beasts capable of standing up to the lion and bringing down a zebra.
NOVA reports on new hope for victims of erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence. Among the promising therapies covered in the program are ones developed by Dr. Irwin Goldstein of Boston University School of Medicine and Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan, director of the Male Clinic in Santa Monica, CA. Actual cases are profiled, featuring men talking candidly about their problem—and going through treatment—on camera. Erectile dysfunction affects an estimated 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70.
In 1714, following a maritime disaster, British Parliament offers £20,000 for the first reliable method of determining longitude on a ship at sea. It's known that longitude can be found by comparing a ship's local time to the time at the port of origin. The challenge is finding a clock—a chronometer—that can keep time at sea, where temperature changes, humidity, gravity and a ship's movement affect accuracy. NOVA chronicles the seventeenth-century journey to determine longitude.
A massive planet-sized machine controls our weather day-to-day, and our climate season-to-season. It takes an event of staggering proportions to disrupt a machine this large and powerful, a juggernaut with more energy than a million nuclear bombs. Signs now indicate that such an event is underway - El Niño. More than a series of storms stunning the California coastline, El Niño is second only to the seasons in its effect on global weather. In a P-3 off the coast, a team plunges into a storm front to explore its cause and effects. In a boat off the Galapagos, an array of buoys are checked for temperature and current data. On a mountan in Peru, signs of the devastation of past El Niños are revealed. As scientists push to extremes to explore this phenomenon, they understand for the first time the extent to which all the world's weather is connected, and just how delicate is the balance.
Experience the harrowing and life-threatening problems aboard the aging Mir space station through the eyes of the Russian and American astronauts who lived through them. Feel the heat from the fire that erupted on board. See the collision between Mir and another space craft. Endure the power outages and the computer failures that have jeopardized lives. Hear the debate over whether NASA should continue to risk its astronauts by sending them to Mir in preparation for the launch later this year of the most ambitious space project yet—the International Space Station.
NOVA goes behind the scenes in Hollywood, where the art of illusion meets the science of perception.
The shattered remnants of the Roman city of Pompeii bear witness to the risk that the people of Naples still face today.
This is the bizarre and fascinating story of the remains of Inca culture, frozen for posterity high in the mountains of the Andes. Evidence has emerged of sacrifice to the mountain gods, whose existence dominated the civilization over 500 years ago. The film traces the frozen bodies of children uncovered by archaeologists in South America, and follows an archaeological expedition to a high-altitude sacred site in search of ritual remains and another body. How did they come to be there? Why did they go to their deaths willingly? What was the religious framework that dictated their sacrifice to fierce gods?
The Siberian Ice Maiden, discovered in the Pastures of Heaven, on the high Steppes, is believed to have been a shamaness of the lost Pazyryk culture. She had been mummified and then frozen by freak climatic conditions around 2400 years ago, along with six decorated horses and a symbolic meal for her last journey. Her body was covered with vivid blue tattoos of mythical animal figures. Together with the newly discovered body of a man, nicknamed "Conan," her body has now been restored, and is providing new clues to the role and power of women in the nomadic peoples of ancient Siberia.
Cutting-edge science and archaeology are reconstructing the life and culture of The Iceman—the 5000-year-old frozen corpse found buried in the ice of the Alps. By analyzing every inch of the Iceman's body and the tools and equipment found with it, scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of the late Stone Age in this part of Europe. X-ray, CAT scan, and microscopic analysis of this spectacular find is revealing where the iceman lived, what he ate, and how he may have died; nuclear physics reveals that the Iceman's hair was contaminated with arsenic and copper, suggesting he was involved in copper production centuries before it was known to exist in the region.
Night stalkers by nature, leopards are observed both by night and day, using state-of-the-art camera equipment, to reveal never before seen hunting behavior. Filmed in the Luangua Valley in Zambia, Leopard reveals the challenges and dangers faced daily by these beautiful animals. Shadowed by hungry hyenas in pursuit of leftovers, and stalked by lumbering crocodiles hoping to tackle a lone leopard on a kill, how can they hope to challenge such beasts?
The pearl—the only gem produced by a living animal—has long carried a certain allure. Yet the best mollusk for making this gem—the pearl oyster—doesn't always produce a pearl, and even then, the pearls are rarely perfectly round. It wasn't until the late nineteenth century, when a Japanese scientist discovered a technique to incite oysters to produce these gems, that an industry was formed. Inducing an oyster to create a pearl is only half the battle—the oyster then needs a nutrient-rich, open environment in which to grow. This NOVA program looks at the science of pearl farming, follows efforts of oyster farmers trying to cope with growing problems of pollution and overcrowding, and considers the shifting sands of dominance within the pearl industry.