Naked Science

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 20 December, 9.30pm

Space Tourism may sound like science fiction, but that’s set to change. Through the eyes of space visionaries, go behind the scenes of some of the most audacious aerospace projects and see the spacecraft that might rocket tourists to the edge of the known universe. Travellers could one day holiday in space hotels, live on faraway planets and travel through wormholes to distant galaxies.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 7 March, 5.30pm

At the northern tip of Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island, in a place called “On Your Knees Cave”, paleontologist Tim Heaton discovers the ancient remains of a young man who had been mauled and killed by prehistoric bears. The bones themselves are few and superficially unimpressive: a molar-filled jaw recovered in two pieces, the partial remains of a pelvis, three ribs, some vertebrae, a scattering of teeth; but Heaton and lead archaeologist E. James Dixon begin piecing together the cave man’s story. The teeth indicate he died in his prime, possibly early to mid-20s. The content of his bones reveal his primary food came from the sea. The nearby stone tools – consisting of materials not found on the island – suggest a long-distance traveller; and his final resting place filled with bear bones (including the femur of a 35,000-year-old grizzly), coupled with signs his own bones had been chewed on by a large carnivore, speak of a violent death. This young man is our prism into the life and times of ancient Alaska.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 28 February, 5.30pm

Exciting new efforts are underway to return humans to our nearest celestial neighbour. Many believe it’s our destiny as a species to move beyond the confines of Earth into the wider solar system. The moon provides the logical first step in that journey. Forty years ago the Apollo program successfully took humans there. But they never stayed for long. Now a new race is on to go back. Only this time, the goal is more ambitious: to establish a permanent settlement on the moon. Many different nations and even private companies are involved. In 2020, NASA’s new lunar program, Constellation, plans to send the first manned mission to the moon’s South Pole. Through extensive use of 3D animation, follow the steps that will be necessary to transport people and materials to the moon to build an outpost. Find out what difficulties these first moon dwellers will need to overcome as well, such as finding water, making oxygen, growing food and protecting themselves from deadly radiation. See what life may be like on the moon in the year 2050: a bustling lunar settlement where a self-sustaining economy is being built to provide cheap solar power and valuable minerals for Mother Earth, and even a tourist destination where ordinary people may experience the age-old dream of strapping on wings and flying in the moon’s 1/6th gravity.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 21 February, 5.30pm

The Moon is receding from Earth. Not only is it receding, but it is gaining speed with each passing year. The Moon is a stabilising force for Earth, enabling life to originate, evolve and exist over the last 4 billion years. When it recedes just ten percent further from our planet though, the Earth will tip up to 60 degrees on its axis, creating endless catastrophes. Extreme temperature swings will push oceans to the poles and ice to the equator; massive dust storms and hurricanes will last hundreds of years. Without the Moon, life as we know it will be wiped from the Earth.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 14 February, 5.30pm

The closely held secrets, recipes and techniques from the world of pyrotechnic showmen are here exposed for the first time. Take a behind-the-scenes look into this exclusive world with unique access to one of the world’s leading family-owned fireworks businesses, Zambelli Internationale, along with rocket scientists and chemists from Los Alamos, New Mexico.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 27 December, 6.30pm

Life is unique to Earth. So how did it come to be? And why here? We’ve all wondered about the origins of life, but one scientist in San Diego believes he and his mentor found the answer. Others take a completely new approach to finding life’s origins by attempting to create from scratch in the lab. From Hawaii’s volcanoes to Greenland’s glaciers to meteorites in Australia, teams of international scientists race to solve the mystery of how life first formed on Earth.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 16 November, 9.30pm

Reno, Nevada. A mysterious swarm of earthquakes shakes the city for months on end. As the weeks tick by, the quakes strike more and more frequently. First, dozens, then hundreds a day. When the earthquakes also grow stronger, dread grips Reno’s residents. Is their “Biggest Little City in the World” destined for destruction? Local scientists grapple with uncovering what’s causing the strange barrage of quakes before disaster strikes.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 9 November, 9.30pm

Vesuvius is considered by many to be the world’s most dangerous volcano. Just six miles from the bustling city of Naples, this restless giant could kill millions in a fraction of a second. The question is… when? Next to Vesuvius lie the ruinous cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They are haunting reminders of the volcano’s past and potential wrath. Now, scientists are furiously trying to predict what it will do next… before it’s too late. Using ancient artefacts and startling new scientific evidence, they are unravelling the secrets of Vesuvius.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 26 October, 9.30pm

Scientists set out to devise a Doomsday scenario, not just to wipe out life, but to totally obliterate Earth. It’s not going to be easy, Earth is a 4.5 billion-year-old, 5 trillion, trillion-tonne ball of rock and iron. It has taken a lot of hits; even a rock the size of Mars couldn’t destroy it. So what method could succeed where others have failed – and destroy the planet once and for all? We put five scenarios to the test, with the help of some of the world’s great scientists.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 12 October, 9.30pm

Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s most famous scientists. But ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, has left him almost totally paralysed… and it is progressing. Unable to walk, talk or write, his only way of communicating is through a computer program that turns a small movement of a finger or the blink of an eye, into words from a vocal synthesiser. But Hawking remains determined to discover a theory of everything, a complete set of rules for the Cosmos. Explore Hawking’s major contributions to the understanding of our Universe – from his revolutionary proof that it originated in a Big Bang; to his ground-breaking discovery that Black Holes are not completely black, but rather emit radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear, to his insights on string theory. Will he unlock the secret of creation before his time runs out?