Program Segments

Program 1: Solar Systems

Program 1: Solar Systems Transcript
The comparative sizes of the planets, moons and other objects that make up our cosmic neighborhood, and the scale of the solar system. We see how gravity created our home from gas and dust left over from previous generations of stars, and how gravity also reveals the presence of planets around other stars. From the birth to the ultimate fate of our solar system.

Program 2: Our Star, the Sun

Program 2: Our Star, the Sun Transcript
Our Sun is a magnetic, variable star, passing through an 11-year cycle of activity resulting in sunspots and solar storms that sometimes impact Earth. We see how fusion makes the Sun, like all other stars, shine, and why magnetic field lines sculpt its dynamic visible disk. NASA's Barbara Thompson describes the new face of the Sun revealed by the SOHO spacecraft, and how sunshine is physics and chemistry in action.

Program 3: Four Rocks Near the Sun

Program 3: Four Rocks Near the Sun Transcript
How are the four "terrestrial" planets alike--or dissimilar? What features and processes does Earth share with Mercury, Venus and Mars, and could humans live on our neighboring worlds? "The Chromatics"--an a cappella group with Ph.Ds in astrophysics and solid science facts to back them up--sing about the "Habitable Zone", and dramatically demonstrate how much we can learn about Earth's rock, water and geochemical cycles through "comparative planetology."

Program 4: Missions to Mars

Program 4: Missions to Mars Transcript
From H. G. Wells and Percival Lowell to the present day ("Mars Attacks!"), the Red Planet has captured minds and imaginations. This video shows how spacecraft observations have replaced science fictions with science fact. We go behind the scenes at NASA JPL during the triumphant landing of Mars Pathfinder and the deployment of the Sojourner rover (named by a high school student for abolitionist heroine, Sojourner Truth.) The latest images from Mars Global Surveyor show why Mars--despite the absence of Martian civilizations--remains a fascinating place to explore in the coming decades.

Program 5: Gas Giants

Program 5: Gas Giants Transcript
Jupiter and Saturn are giant worlds with their own mini-solar systems of tens of moons. We see why some call Jupiter "a star that failed" and why, since the Sun's light is so weak our here in the outer solar system, spacecraft need special energy sources to operate. How the two Voyager spacecraft, followed by the Galileo mission, revealed new and unexpected phenomena, such as colorful and violent sulfur volcanoes on Jupiter's Io (pron. "eye-oh") created by gravity, and how--in the coming years--the Cassini mission will explore Saturn and its giant moon, Titan.

Program 6: Small Worlds and Cosmic Collisions

Program 6: Small Worlds and Cosmic Collisions Transcript
65 million years ago, a comet or asteroid slammed into Earth and soon the dinosaurs went extinct, leaving mammals like us to inhabit the planet. This video looks at how objects smaller than moons and planets are constantly traveling through our solar system, bringing life as well as death to planets. The story of the NEAR mission, humanity's first close-up look at an asteroid, and the question of whether Pluto, "the ninth planet", should really be demoted!

Program 7: Looking for Life

Program 7: Looking for Life Transcript
Life on Earth relies on water, but it's found at the bottom of the ocean, where no sunlight reaches, and in the driest deserts on the planet. Where is it reasonable to look for life, elsewhere in our solar system? Results from Mars, and hopes for amazing discoveries on Jupiter's moon, Europa, which many think may have a water ocean under an icy crust. We see how the immense variety of life on Earth prepares us to search for life beyond Earth.

Program 8: Exploring the Solar System and Beyond

Program 8: Exploring the Solar System and Beyond Transcript
How optics, the nature of the electromagnetic spectrum, mathematics and Kepler's and Newton's laws of motion allow us to explore the solar system with telescopes and spacecraft, and through the all-important idealism and hard work of teams of dedicated men and women. The tools and techniques of exploring our cosmic neighborhood, and how the scientific enterprise works.

PASSPORT TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM Educator program A Transcript

PASSPORT TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM Educator program B Transcript