The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide-a fully-funded Open University production for BBC TWO - tackles the big questions about the Solar System, space and the Universe in general: How were they made? Are we alone? What’s the furthest thing we can see? Is there another Earth somewhere?
Presented by Adam-Hart-Davis, with reports from geologist and planetary scientist Dr Janet Sumner of The Open University, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, astronomer and engineer, The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide is a fascinating and indispensable six-part guide to the Cosmos and the amazing new ways it is being explored. Will we ever discover what happened in the very instant of creation – the Big Bang? How close are we to finding extraterrestrial life in our own Solar System? How do you make a star?
In these six programmes, made by Screenhouse Productions for The Open University, Adam Hart-Davis and his team visit the spectacular places where the exploration of the Universe is being pushed to new limits. They include the world’s biggest experiment, recreating conditions that existed thousandths of a second after the Big Bang; the place most likely to pick up alien communication; and the biggest telescope in the world, high in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
Navigating the latest frontiers of scientific discovery, the series uncovers exactly what we know about the history of our Universe. From the emergence of the first elements to the creation of life on Earth and the possibilities of finding other intelligent life forms somewhere in space, The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide explains the mysteries of the planets, stars and galaxies.
1. Life in the Cosmos. Adam Hart-Davis joins alien hunters at a huge new telescope in California dedicated to receiving the first message from intelligent beings. Janet Sumner investigates a new way to detect life on Mars, using a probe made with living material from Earth.
2. Building the Universe. Adam Hart-Davis is 100 metres underground with the team hoping to blast their way back to the Big Bang in the world's largest experiment. They are on the trail of tiny particles not seen since space and time began.
3. Seeing the Universe. Adam Hart-Davis travels across Chile's Atacama desert to the world's largest telescope to discover how this massive machine is revealing incredible new sights from across the universe.
4. Space Exploration. Adam Hart-Davis investigates the dream mission to put men on Mars. It will take thirty years, but methods for exploring the red planet are already being tested in the Utah desert.
5. Violent Universe. Space is a dangerous place, as Adam Hart-Davis discovers when he joins the team in Leicester hunting for the biggest bangs since the Big Bang. He finds that these vast explosions were discovered accidentally by spy satellites.
6. Other Worlds. Is there another Earth? Adam Hart-Davis is on the summit of La Palma in the Canary Islands, searching for planets around other suns.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist)