‘Nova’ delivers stories from the front lines of science

“Nova” explores 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.

Oct. 16: “Why Bridges Collapse”

In 2018, Italy’s Morandi Bridge collapsed, killing 43 people. NOVA investigates what went wrong and explores other bridge collapses across the United States. How can new engineering techniques make bridges safer and prevent such tragedies? Watch via Passport.

Oct. 23: “Look Who’s Driving”

Tech giants and car manufacturers alike are developing self-driving cars – and some of them are already on public roads. But what must computers be capable of to truly take the wheel? And could they eventually be safer than human drivers? Watch via Passport.

Oct. 30: “Rise of the Mammals”

Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs in a fiery global catastrophe. An amazing new trove of fossils reveals how mammals took over, ultimately evolving into the huge array of species, including us, that rule Earth today. Watch online.

Nov. 6: “Dead Sea Scroll Detectives”

What can new technology reveal about the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls? Join scientists as they investigate suspicious, newly surfaced fragments to see if they’re forfeited, and use imaging techniques to digitally unravel the charred remains of a scroll. Watch online.

Nov. 13: “Decoding Da Vinci”

How as Leonardo da Vinci able to think so far “outside the box” that he envisaged developments in engineering, astronomy, and anatomy that were only realized centuries later? His inventions and insights have come down to us through his notebooks, each page packed with ideas and breathtaking drawings but revealing little about his personal life or character. Watch online.

Nov. 20: “The Violence Paradox”

Despite the constant news of violence, Steven Pinker believes we’re living in the most peaceful period in human history. Journey through history and the human mind to explore why violence has diminished – and how we might create a more peaceful world. Watch online.

Nov. 27: “Animal Espionage”

Camera traps and drones are revolutionizing the study of wildlife by providing an up-close look at animals without disturbing them. See how these technologies are helping us understand everything from mysterious whale behavior to tiger migration. (Also 11/28 at 2 a.m.)

Dec. 11: “Bigger than T-Rex”

See fossil discoveries in Morocco bring a 53-foot-long behemoth called Spinosauraus back to life. (Also Thu. 12/12 at 2 a.m.; Sun 12/15 at 1 p.m.)

Dec. 18: “Inside Animal Minds: Who’s the Smartest?”

What would it be like to go inside the mind of an animal? We have all gazed into a creature’s eyes and wondered: what is it thinking about? What does it really know? Now, the revolutionary science of animal cognition is revealing hard evidence about how animals understand the world around them, uncovering their remarkable problem-solving abilities and exploring the complexity of their powers of communication and even their emotions. (Also Thu. 12/19 at 2 a.m.; Sun. 12/22 at 1 p.m.)

Jan. 8: “The Planets: Inner Worlds”

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?

Jan. 15: “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.

Jan. 22: “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.

Jan. 29: “The Planets: Ice Worlds”

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.

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