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[starttext]From its highest mountains to its deepest oceans, our world has challenged explorers of every generation to reach further and seek what lies beyond the horizon.

Century upon century, the lure of the unknown has taken humans to every corner of the globe and it has given us a view of Earth that our ancestors could barely imagine.

Now, the drive to explore is leading us upward and outward - off our own planet and out into the solar system where a host of alien worlds offers us vast new terrains to uncover.

We roam this territory today, not with our material bodies, but with our robot surrogates, which we have flung through the brutal vacuum and sent plunging into conditions more extreme than any astronaut could endure.

Today we see the sun, moon and planets with penetrating clarity - not through human eyes, but through the eyes of the intrepid machines that are blazing a trail for us across the solar system.

Their cameras have become our windows onto a bold new adventure.

The latest missions to the sun and planets are providing images so crisp and spectacular it is like peering through a window at another world.

But make no mistake; these images are more than just pretty pictures of nature.

The increasingly sophisticated and detailed views are shaping our understanding of who we are, where we came from and where we are going.

The underlying message of this series is that we are witnessing an unprecedented new age of exploration. [endtext]

Cosmic Vistas


[starttext] Qin Shi Huang 259 BC -- 210 BC. was the king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC, during the Warring States Period.

He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC He ruled until his death in 210 BC at the age of 49.

Calling himself the First Emperor after China's unification, Qín Shǐ Huáng is a pivotal figure in Chinese history, ushering in nearly two millennia of imperial rule.

After unifying China, he and his chief advisor Li Si passed a series of major economic and political reforms.

He undertook gigantic projects, including building and unifying various sections of the Great Wall of China, the now famous city-sized mausoleum guarded by the life-sized Terracotta Army, and a massive national road system. [endtext]

The First Emperor of China


[starttext] "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet.

Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth.

Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the Sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane.

From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet. [endtext]

Earth From Space


[starttext] The hunt for life within the long-dead bones of dinosaurs may sound like the stuff of Hollywood fantasy - but one woman has found traces of life within the fossilised bones of a T Rex.

Dr Mary Schweitzer has seen the remains of red blood cells and touched the soft tissue of an animal that died 68 million years ago.

Most excitingly of all, she believes she may just have found signs of DNA.

Her work is revolutionising our understanding of these iconic beasts. [endtext]

Dinosaurs The Hunt For Life


[starttext] The Earth might seem solid beneath our feet but five billion years ago there was no sign of the planet we call home.

Instead there was only a new star and a cloud of dust in our solar system.

Over millions of years, a series of violent changes led to the formation of our world and, eventually, the creation of life.

In this photorealistic CGI epic, see how a boiling ball of rock transformed into the blue planet we know today.

Explore every aspect of our world; learn how water first arrived on Earth, discover the vital role oxygen played as life forms began to evolve, and find out how land mammals evolved into dinosaurs and other giant beasts, before becoming extinct 65 million years ago.

Cutting-edge imagery also reveals how humans first began to walk on two feet and looks into the future to see what may be in store for our home over the next five billion years. [endtext]

The Story of Earth


[starttext] Two statues, a temple, a hanging garden, two tombs and a lighthouse. This selection of monuments became known as "The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". There are probably few who could list them right away, are even fewer who know something about each of them or the reasons for which they were labeled as Wonders. Six of those seven were destroyed by forces of nature, or by human hand. Each episode in this series describes one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and we see besides the monuments themselves the people who designed and built them, with the vision to create something wonderful.

Now they exist only within the precise, rectangular pits of excavated remains that capture a once-powerful dream whose images continue to echo around us. But, centuries ago, the Seven Wonders of the World were advertisements for a contemporary, thrilling, and heroic way of life, the finest examples of a brand-new civic architecture, the ancestors of every modern city on the planet. Here is the history behind these legendary lost structures: the enormous statue to the Greek god Zeus, carved by Phidias and holding a figure of Victory in one hand and a scepter in the other; the Colossus of Rhodes, a tribute to freedom looking up to Olympus and over the sea; the elegant lighthouse on the island of Pharos in Alexandria; the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, adorned with numerous statues and carvings; the many-tiered Hanging Gardens of Babylon; the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, as beautiful as the goddess for whom it was named; and the eternal Pyramids and the Rise of Wonder.

Journey back to the ancient world to discover it's man-made Wonders. Each wonder is recreated with computer animation, and your host, author and archaeologist, John Romer examines the historical background of these ancient monuments and the civilisations to which they belonged.

1. Simply the Best

In this episode, John Romer invites viewers to investigate the notion of Seven Wonders and the concept of Wonder itself. He examines the statue of Zeus and the Colossus of Rhodes. For Zeus, John Romer visit a Parthenon and a copy of Nashville, TN, explaining how the great statue and temple was constructed. At the site of the temple of Zeus at Olympia, Romer talks about how the statue was made. Exploring the Colossus, Romer finds the foundation pieces of the statue embedded in an old fort in the harbor. But where exactly was the statue of Rhodes? Romer investigates this question and the image of Colossus.

2. The Magic Metropolis

In this episode, John Romer explores the history of the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Of the seven wonders of the world most practical was the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Built in 285 BC, the lighthouse can be seen from 50 km at sea and to show the way to the old town Nepal. From medieval legends we hear magic light attacking and burning sails of the ships . Lighthouse of Alexandria was more than an indicator to ancient ships, it symbolized one of the most spectacular experiments of mankind and birth of the modern city and Magic Metropolis.

In today's Bodrum (ancient city Halicarnassus), Romer visits the initial site where once was the largest tomb the world has ever seen, the tomb of King Mausolus or Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. The term Mausoleum (large funeral tomb) comes after the name of King Mausol.

3. Wonders of the East

Now presenter John Romer studies the history and beauty of two other Wonders: Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Romer explains the myths around the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In Iraq, archaeologists discovered the remains of great palaces and walls, but none of the famous gardens. They were an opulent dream, brought from the Orient. This Persian paradise filled with fruit and flowers was used by the Greeks to plant olive groves on impressive terraces. At Ephesus, Romer details ancient goddess worship at the temple which attracts all those who believed in it. The place is now near the ruins of Didyma, and he reveals how you could still see the remains of Temple of Artemis.

4. Ghosts of Wonder

John Romer bears viewers a wonderful trip, studying the pyramids of Egypt and the new concept of wonder of the world. Visiting the amazing Sydney Opera building in Australia, Romer walks along the majestic roof of this structure, considered one of the modern wonders of the world. He discusses the ancient heritage of Wonders, which lasted for centuries. Pyramids of Giza are the only surviving ancient wonders and by far the oldest, and Romer explains how and why they were built. You then follow Romer climbing to the Pharaoh's Chamber in the Great Pyramid, where he discusses the mathematical complexity of the pyramid and its significance for ancient Egyptians. [endtext]

Seven Wonders Of The World


[starttext] Everything you're about to read here seems impossible and insane, beyond science fiction.

Yet it's all true.

Scientists now believe there may really be a parallel universe - in fact, there may be an infinite number of parallel universes, and we just happen to live in one of them. These other universes contain space, time and strange forms of exotic matter. Some of them may even contain you, in a slightly different form. Astonishingly, scientists believe that these parallel universes exist less than one millimetre away from us. In fact, our gravity is just a weak signal leaking out of another universe into ours.

In another universe, the British could win the American Civil War

The same but different

For years parallel universes were a staple of the Twilight Zone. Science fiction writers loved to speculate on the possible other universes which might exist. In one, they said, Elvis Presley might still be alive or in another the British Empire might still be going strong. Serious scientists dismissed all this speculation as absurd. But now it seems the speculation wasn't absurd enough. Parallel universes really do exist and they are much stranger than even the science fiction writers dared to imagine.

Greater dimensions

It all started when superstring theory, hyperspace and dark matter made physicists realise that the three dimensions we thought described the Universe weren't enough. There are actually 11 dimensions. By the time they had finished they'd come to the conclusion that our Universe is just one bubble among an infinite number of membranous bubbles which ripple as they wobble through the eleventh dimension.

Each universe may exist as a bubble with its own laws of physics

A creative touch

Now imagine what might happen if two such bubble universes touched. Neil Turok from Cambridge, Burt Ovrut from the University of Pennsylvania and Paul Steinhardt from Princeton believe that has happened. The result? A very big bang indeed and a new universe was born - our Universe. The idea has shocked the scientific community; it turns the conventional Big Bang theory on its head. It may well be that the Big Bang wasn't really the beginning of everything after all. Time and space all existed before it. In fact Big Bangs may happen all the time.

Of course this extraordinary story about the origin of our Universe has one alarming implication. If a collision started our Universe, could it happen again? Anything is possible in this extra-dimensional cosmos. Perhaps out there in space there is another universe heading directly towards us - it may only be a matter of time before we collide. [endtext]

Parallel Universes


[starttext] What can Australia reveal about how Earth was born and how life took hold?

Join NOVA and host Dr. Richard Smith as they journey back to the very beginning of the Australian story in "Awakening."

The first stop is Western Australia, around four and a half billion years ago, where we encounter an Earth shortly after its fiery birth.

Hidden in the red hills of Australia are clues to the mysteries of when the Earth was born, how life first arose, and how it transformed the planet.

Experts unveil how the earliest forms of life—an odd assortment of bacterial slime—flooded the atmosphere with oxygen, sparking the biological revolution that made animal life possible.

It is the beginning of the great drama of life on Earth. [endtext]

Australia The First 4 Billion Years - Awakening [1/4]


[starttext] How did life storm the beaches and dominate planet Earth? Ancient Australian fossils offer clues in "Life Explodes."

Half a billion years ago, Australia was still part of the super-continent Gondwana.

The oceans were teeming with weird and wonderful animals, but the world above the waves remained an almost lifeless wasteland.

All that was about to change, though. Host Richard Smith introduces Earth's forgotten pioneers: the scuttling arthropod armies that invaded the shores and the waves of green revolutionaries whose battle for the light pushed plant life across the face of a barren continent.

Evolution continued underwater as well, with armor-plated fish experimenting with teeth, jaws, sex, and lungs.

NOVA's prehistoric adventure continues with four-legged animals walking onto dry land—and the planet poised for disaster. [endtext]

Australia the first Four Billion Years - Life Explodes [2/4]


[starttext] "Monsters" begins Down Under at the dawn of the Age of Dinosaurs. Host Richard Smith comes face-to-face with the previously unknown reptilian rulers of prehistoric Australia.

NOVA resurrects the giants that stalked the Great Southern Land and discovers that some of these animals were among the largest ever to have walked the Earth.

Others were some of the most dangerous. In the dry desert heart, scientists unearth an ancient inland ocean full of sea monsters.

Opal fossils of some of these beasts paint a colorful picture of the exotic seascape, where long-necked plesiosaurs snacked on shelled creatures that grew as large as truck tires.

The most fearsome was Kronosaurus, with a skull twice as long as T. rex. But reptiles didn't have the world all to themselves. Mammals like the enigmatic platypus lived alongside them, ready for their moment in the sun. [endtext]

Australia the First four Billion years - Monsters [3/4]


[starttext] In the wake of the catastrophic asteroid impact believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, Australia was set adrift on a lonely voyage across southern seas.

With host Richard Smith, NOVA travels the walkabout continent to uncover how it became the strange land it is today. In this final episode, "Strange Creatures," NOVA traces the last 65 million years, revealing the events that shaped the Australia we know today.

Prehistoric jungles retreated, replaced by eucalypt forests, grasslands, and deserts.

When humans first arrived, giant marsupials dominated the land and the Great Barrier Reef was yet to form.

This is a tale of calamity and conquest; how a conspiracy of climate, biology, and geology shaped the Earth we now call home. [endtext]

Australia the First four Billion years - Strange creatures [4/4]


[starttext] Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives.

Part 1, "First Steps," examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. The program explores the fossil of "Selam," also known as "Lucy's Child." Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil. NOVA's cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of this 3.3 million-year-old fossil child. And NOVA takes viewers "inside the skull" to show how our ancestors' brains had begun to change from those of the apes.

Why did leaps in human evolution take place? "First Steps" explores a provocative "big idea" that sharp swings of climate were a key factor. [endtext]

Becoming Human: First Steps [1/3]


[starttext] Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives.

In "Birth of Humanity," the second part of the three-part series "Becoming Human," NOVA investigates the first skeleton that really looks like us--"Turkana Boy"--an astonishingly complete specimen of Homo erectus found by the famous Leakey team in Kenya. These early humans are thought to have developed key innovations that helped them thrive, including hunting large prey, the use of fire, and extensive social bonds.

The program examines an intriguing theory that long-distance running--our ability to jog--was crucial for the survival of these early hominids. Not only did running help them escape from vicious predators roaming the grasslands, but it also gave them a unique hunting strategy: chasing down prey animals such as deer and antelope to the point of exhaustion. "Birth of Humanity" also probes how, why, and when humans' uniquely long period of childhood and parenting began. [endtext]

Becoming Human: Birth of Humanity [2/3]


[starttext] Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives.

In "Last Human Standing," the final program of the three-part series "Becoming Human," NOVA examines the fate of the Neanderthals, our European cousins who died out as modern humans spread from Africa into Europe during the Ice Age. Did modern humans interbreed with Neanderthals or exterminate them? The program explores crucial evidence from the recent decoding of the Neanderthal genome.

How did modern humans take over the world? New evidence suggests that they left Africa and colonized the rest of the globe far earlier, and for different reasons, than previously thought. As for Homo sapiens, we have planet Earth to ourselves today, but that's a very recent and unusual situation. For millions of years, many kinds of hominids co-existed. At one time Homo sapiens shared the planet with Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and the mysterious "Hobbits"--three-foot-high humans who thrived on the Indonesian island of Flores until as recently as 12,000 years ago.

"Last Human Standing" examines why "we" survived while those other ancestral cousins died out. And it explores the provocative question: In what ways are we still evolving today? [endtext]

Becoming Human: Last Human Standing [3/3]


[starttext] Two thousand years ago a mysterious and little known civilization ruled the northern coast of Peru. Its people were called the Moche.

They built huge and bizarre pyramids that still dominate the surrounding countryside; some well over a hundred feet tall.

Many are so heavily eroded they look like natural hills; only close up can you see they are made up of millions of mud bricks.

Several of the pyramids, known as 'huacas', meaning sacred site in the local Indian dialect, contain rich collections of murals depicting both secular and sacred scenes from the Moche world.

Others house the elaborate tombs of Moche leaders.

Out in the desert, archaeologists have also found the 2000-year-old remains of an extensive system of mud brick aqueducts which enabled the Moche to tame their desert environment.

Many are still in use today. Indeed there are signs that the Moche irrigated a larger area of land than farmers in Peru do now.

How did they create such an apparently successful civilisation in the middle of the desert, what kind of a society was it, and why did it disappear?

For decades it was one of the greatest archaeological riddles in South America.

As archaeologists have excavated at Moche sites they've unearthed some of the most fabulous pottery and jewelry ever to emerge from an ancient civilization.

The Moche were pioneers of metal working techniques like gilding and early forms of soldering. [endtext]

The Lost Civilization of Peru


[starttext] Horizon's Time Trip is a thrilling journey deep into the strangeness of cutting-edge physics - a place where beautiful, baffling ideas are sometimes indistinguishable from the utterly crazy.

On this journey, we meet a time-travelling pizza, a brilliant mathematician in a ski mask and even God. The journey ends with a strange and dark conclusion - one which calls into question our very existence.

Ever since Einstein showed it was theoretically possible, the quest to travel through time has drawn eccentric amateurs and brilliant scientists in almost equal numbers. The amateurs include Aage Nost, who demonstrates his time machine in front of the cameras. The professionals include the likes of Professor Frank Tipler of Tulane University. His time machine sounds good - but it would weigh half the mass of the galaxy.

There is, however, one way that time travel to the past could be possible. And it would be much more convenient. Future civilisations could use computers to create exact replicas of the past. Unfortunately that idea has physics trembling in its socks. Because if you can generate a perfect virtual reality version of the past, who's to say we are not one of the replicas? [endtext]

Time Trip