A blue and green butterfly with spread wings.

NOVA “Butterfly Blueprints”


Premiering Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.

Butterflies are perhaps the world’s most beloved insects. But beneath their colorful charm, there’s a wealth of hidden scientific secrets that show butterflies to be smarter and more resilient than we ever imagined. In “Butterfly Blueprints,” NOVA captures astonishing fresh insights on their adaptability and behavior: this new research is inspiring groundbreaking technology, including more efficient solar power cells, chemical  detectors, and bulletproof vests made from genetically modified butterfly silk that’s tougher than Kevlar.

Butterfly-inspired advances even extend to nano-materials. Visible from miles away, the startling metallic blue of the Morpho butterfly is due to the diffraction of light from nanoscale structures in their wings—an innovation inspiring new ways of engineering color. Featuring enthralling 4K macrophotography that takes you inside a chrysalis as it’s being spun, “Butterfly Blueprints” takes viewers to tropical rainforests and windswept prairies to witness their extraordinary life cycle and migrations. NOVA’s story also delves into the long relationship between butterflies and humans, exploring what can be done to help ensure the survival of one of our favorite companions from the natural world.

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