‘Nova’ delivers stories from the front lines of science

“Nova” celebrates the Summer of Space by exploring new discoveries and how we have come this far. Except where otherwise noted, all times below are Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Arizona PBS.

June 12

“Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday?” — The asteroid that exploded in the skies over Siberia injuring more than 1,000 and damaging buildings in six cities was a shocking reminder that Earth is a target in a cosmic shooting range. From the width of a football field to the size of a small city, the space rocks called asteroids have the potential to be killers. Watch online.

June 26

“First Man on the Moon” — NOVA presents an intimate portrait of Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, through interviews with Armstrong’s family and friends. The film reveals his achievements as a Navy combat veteran and pioneer of high-speed flight. NOVA revisits the final moments of the Apollo 11 landing, when Armstrong brought the Eagle down safely with seconds to spare, but he regretted that he got so much credit for the team effort that the lunar landing represented. Watch online.

July 3

“Black Hole Apocalypse” (Part 1 at 8 p.m.; Part 2 at 9:30 p.m.) — Join astrophysicist and novelist Janna Levin on a two-part, mind-blowing voyage to the frontiers of black hole science, which is shining new light on the most powerful and mysterious objects in the universe. Astrophysicists are coming to realize that black holes just might be integral to the structure of the universe — and our very existence. In this 2-hour special, take a journey to the frontiers of black hole science. We will meet with the leading astronomers and physicists to discover the most cutting edge research that is helping to shed light on these shadowy monsters, and we will explore the provocative questions: Where do they come from? What’s inside them? What happens if you fall into one? And what can they tell us about the nature of space, time and gravity? Watch online.

July 10 (7 p.m.)

“Back to the Moon” — Fifty years after humans first set foot on the moon, new scientific discoveries are fueling excitement for a return to the lunar surface — this time, perhaps, to stay. Join the scientists and engineers working to make life on the moon a reality. Watch online.

July 16 (Tuesday at 9 p.m.)

“Apollo’s Daring Mission” — Hear astronauts and engineers tell the inside story of how Apollo 8, the first mission to the moon, pioneered groundbreaking technologies that would pave the way to land a man on the moon and win the space race. (Also Sun. 7/21 at 1 p.m.) Watch online

July 24

“The Planets: Inner Worlds” (8 p.m.) — The rocky planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – were born of similar material around the same time, yet only one supports life. Were Earth’s neighbors always so extreme? Is there somewhere else in the solar system where life might flourish? (Also Thu. 7/25 at 2 a.m.; Sun. 7/28 at 1 p.m.)

“The Planets: Mars” (9 p.m.) – Mars was once a blue water world studded with active volcanoes. But when its magnetic field and protective atmosphere faded, it became the frozen desert planet we know today. With so many necessary elements in place, did life ever form on Mars? (Also Thu. 7/25 at 3 a.m.

July 31

“The Planets: Jupiter” – Jupiter’s massive gravitational force made it a wrecking ball when it barreled through the early solar system. But it also shaped life on Earth, delivering comets laden with water – and perhaps even the fateful asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

August 7

“The Planets: Saturn” – NASA’s Cassini explores Saturn for 13 years, looping through its icy rings and flying by its moons. The probe captures stunning ring-moon interactions, but when it finds the ingredients for life on the moon Enceladus, a bittersweet decision is made. (Also Thu. 8/8 at 2 a.m.; Sun. 8/11 at 1 p.m.)

August 14

“Pluto and Beyond” (7 p.m.) – Join the mission as the New Horizons spacecraft attempts to fly by NASA’s most distant target yet. Since it explored Pluto in 2015, New Horizons is zooming toward Ultima Thule, four billion miles from Earth. (Also Thu. 8/15 at 1 a.m.)

“The Planets: Ice Worlds” (8 p.m.) – In the far reaches of the solar system, Uranus and Neptune dazzle with unexpected rings, supersonic winds and dozens of moons. And NASA’s New Horizons gets a stunning up-close view of Pluto before venturing deep into the Kuiper Belt. (Also Thu. 8/15 at 2 a.m.)

August 28

“Lethal Seas” – Oceans absorb about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. With carbon emissions sharply rising, the silent killer is entering the seas at a staggering rate – raising the oceans’ acidity. Follow scientists who are seeking solutions, including a unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea that offers a glimpse of what the seas could be like in a half-century. (Also Thu. 8/29 at 2 a.m.)

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