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History

Alien Devastations

If ancient aliens visited Earth, were they responsible for catastrophes, wars and other deadly disasters to control the fate of the human race? The story of the Great Flood sent by deities to destroy civilizations exists in many prehistoric cultures. There are ancient descriptions of extraterrestrial battles that caused wide-scale destruction, and even reports of UFOs lurking in the shadows of recent natural disasters. The Book of Revelations and the Dead Sea Scrolls describe a future apocalyptic battle between good and evil that will destroy our world. Are these ancient texts proof that aliens are hostile and planning a violent return? Or might they be our saviors, ensuring our survival as a species during times of devastation?



Alien Messengers

Unearthly visitations... Heavenly messengers... Close encounters... Accounts of humans interacting with celestial beings have existed since the beginning of mankind. Many of these encounters resulted in moral, philosophical and artistic inspirations. But did these contacts involve ethereal beings from heaven or extraterrestrials from other worlds? Are holy books the word of God, or guidebooks passed down by more advanced civilizations? Who told Joan of Arc how to defeat the English Army--saints or extraterrestrials? Could a young boy from India have learned advanced mathematical formulas from a Hindu goddess? What message did an American serviceman receive while touching an alien aircraft? If the Ancient astronaut theory is correct, then are beings from other worlds communicating with us for our benefit... or theirs? Just what is the purpose of these alien contacts?



Alien Tech

Super-heated death rays... High-tech rockets... Powerful sonic weapons... Are these examples of modern day science or could these technologies have originated thousands of years ago? Is it possible that early man possessed scientific knowledge far beyond that of our own century? Ancient texts, folklore and art suggest humans witnessed disc-shaped flying machines and fire-spewing chariots. Could these be accounts of flying saucers and rocket ships? And if so, was advanced technology left here by visitors from the stars? Did mankind's quest to unlock the secrets of levitation, anti-gravity and laser technology merely spring from our imaginations or did these ideas come from otherworldly beings?



Aliens and the Third Reich

If ancient aliens visited Earth in the remote past, could they have given us advanced technology, past down through human history? And could this technology have helped the Third Reich build mysterious weapons and crafts far beyond the limits of 20th century science? During World War II, there were reports that the Germans built an operational flying saucer, known as the Hanebu, which was said to use mythical technology found in ancient Indian texts. Another craft was rumored to have been constructed with the help of psychics and mediums who claimed to have received detailed blueprints from extraterrestrial beings. Is it possible Hitler's quest for world domination was aided and abetted by ancient extraterrestrial technology that was rediscovered? And could the allegedly rebuilt alien devices developed in Germany have played a role in America's ability to land a man on the moon?



Angels and Aliens

Biblical texts and ancient lore frequently describe winged creatures carrying messages from the heavens. But are angels merely the product of mankind's imagination--or do they really exist? If so, where do they come from? Ancient astronaut theorists suggest that the Bible's Old Testament reads like a handbook on extraterrestrial visitations. Accounts of angels can also be found in Islamic and Indian texts. Infinite stories around the globe describe unearthly guardians, entrusted to both observe and protect as well as tales of powerful warriors bringing about everything from plague to peace. Are angels really supernatural beings from heaven, or something more? If so, might angels really be travelers--visiting Earth from distant planets?



Asia

Alice Roberts travels to Siberia and visits an isolated community of indigenous people who still practice reindeer hunting. She uses them to ask how ancient Africans could have adapted to the hostile climate of northern Asia, and asks why Asian people look so different from Africans. She explores an alternative to the Out of Africa theory, the multiregional origin of modern humans theory that has gain support in some science community in China. According to this theory, the Chinese are not descended from anatomically modern African Homo sapiens, but evolved from a separate species of humans, called Homo erectus, rather than the Homo sapiens which produced the rest of humanity. Roberts visits the Zhoukoudian caves, in which Peking Man, the supposed Homo erectus ancestor of the Chinese, was discovered. She notes that some Chinese anthropologists and palaeontologists have shown modern Chinese physical characteristics that present in the fossil skulls, such as broad cheek bones, cranial skull shape and shovel shaped incisors which are virtually unique to Chinese people and absent in almost all other humans. Additionally she notes that the stone tools found in China seem more primitive than those elsewhere, showing that only the tools made by Homo erectus was present. However, she argues that the skull evidence is only subtle and interviews an American palaeontologist who believes, and presents, his hypothesis that the ancient Chinese humans used bamboo instead of stone, explaining the absence of sophisticated stone tools, despite no archaeological evidence in support of this hypothesis. Finally, she interviews Chinese geneticist Jin Li, who ran a study of more than 10,000 individuals scattered throughout China from 160 ethnic groups. The study, which hypothesised that the modern Chinese population evolved from Homo erectus in China, concluded that the Chinese people did in fact evolve and migrate from Africa like the rest of world's population.



Australia

In this fourth episode, Roberts discusses the surprising evidence of the Mungo Lake remains, which suggest, surprisingly, that humans reached Australia long before they reached Europe, even though Australia is further away from Africa. Roberts attempts to trace the journey. She visits a site in India that appears to indicate that humans were present there 70,000 years ago, before the Toba supervolcano deposited ash on the site. She then points to the Negrito people of Southeast Asia, who look different from other Asian peoples, and who may be descendants of the peoples who first left Africa. She describes the discovery of the tiny homo floresiensis on Flores and suggests that they may have been exterminated by modern humans. She describes the crossing of the Torres Strait by experimenting with a bamboo raft. She concludes by visiting a tribe in Northern Australia whose mythology describes their mother goddess arriving from across the sea.



Chariots, Gods And Beyond

What if life on Earth began in outer space? Millions of people accept the theory that intelligent life forms visited Earth thousands of years ago and were worshiped as gods by primitive man. Are monuments like Stonehenge and Easter Island the last remains of an ancient alien visitation? From unexplainable super structures, to knowledge of the solar system, mathematics, and even the ability to make electricity, this special explores evidence of super-human influences on ancient man and embarks on an around-the-world search for answers. It's an investigation into a theory some believe cannot be true, but many agree cannot be ignored.



Closer Encounters

Reports of encounters with strange beings and sightings of mysterious objects in the sky have occurred throughout history. A 13th century historical book, Otia Imperialia, includes an account of a creature descending from a flying craft over Bristol, England. The log from Christopher Columbus' first voyage to America contains a report of strange lights in the sky. Medieval art pieces depict disc-shaped objects floating in the heavens. Sightings of flying cigar-shaped crafts were reported during the Black Plague. And there were even discussions of extraterrestrial life among America's Founding Fathers. Could these sightings, coming from every part of the world, from biblical times to present day, be evidence that aliens have been with us all along?



Einstein

This is the extraordinary story of Albert Einstein and his decades-long battle to prove his Theory of General Relativity amid the violence of war and his tumultuous personal life.

In 1907, Einstein challenged two centuries of scientific belief and Sir Isaac Newton with a mind-boggling theory: Gravity is not pulling you down. Instead, massive bodies like the Sun and the Earth are bending space and time around you, pushing you down. He then had to prove his theory to unconvinced scientists. He figured that light from a distant star, as it passes right next to the sun and the sun’s gravitational field, will be bent. And the only way to see that would be to photograph a total solar eclipse.

Fiercely competitive astronomers raced each other to exotic locations to see if Einstein was right… or wrong. Hardships, weather, and war foiled their expeditions until 1922 when the photographic proof was clearly, and without a doubt, captured. It launched Albert Einstein as a global icon celebrated around the world for his genius–and his humanity.



Europe

In the third episode, Roberts describes the various waves of anatomically modern humans that settled the continent of Europe. She crosses the Bosphorus and travels up the Danube River, following their likely route. She then describes the already resident population of Neanderthals, and visits Gibraltar, the last known site occupied by Neanderthals. She suggests that the principle difference between them and homo sapiens was the latter's ability to create art, and visits the cave paintings at Lascaux. She discusses the theories about why Europeans have white skin and describes the birth of agriculture and the societal changes that took place as a result, visiting a spectacular Neolithic temple in Turkey.



Gods and Aliens

Myths and legends have long been regarded as fantastic stories that describe powerful gods, mutant giants and fearsome monsters. But why do so many different cultures, separated by vast distances, tell the same stories? Is it possible that myths and legends were really eyewitness accounts of ancient astronauts descending to Earth? Ancient texts are filled with stories of gods interacting with humans, offering wisdom, technology, and even impregnating women. Could the demigods of mythology have been the offspring of alien and human unions? If so, could aliens have supplied the Missing Link that accelerated human evolution, advancing our civilization and making us who we are today?



Inner Planets

Contrasts the radical differences between Earth and the planets Venus and Mercury. Lessons for life on earth are presented.



Judgment Day - Intelligent Design on Trial

In this two-hour special, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District.

In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design–the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply. Later, parents opposed to intelligent design filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state.

NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as "What is evolution?" and "Is intelligent design a scientifically valid alternative?" Kitzmiller v. Dover was the first legal test of intelligent design as a scientific theory, with the plaintiffs arguing that it is a thinly veiled form of creationism, the view that a literal interpretation of the Bible accounts for all observed facts about nature.



Jupiter: The Giant Planet

Visit the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, with over 60 moons.
 



Liberty in the Air

From the 1740s to the 1830s, the institution of slavery continued to support economic development. As the slave population reproduced, American planters became less dependent on the African slave trade. Ensuing generations of slaves developed a unique culture that blended elements of African and American life. Episode two follows the paths of several African Americans, including Thomas Jefferson's slave Jupiter, Colonel Tye, Elizabeth Freeman, David Walker, and Maria Stewart, Watch a preview as they respond to the increasingly restrictive system of slavery. At the core of this episode is the Revolutionary War, an event which reveals the contradictions of a nation seeking independence while simultaneously denying freedom to its black citizens.



Mars: The Red Planet

It has been fifty years since man first ventured into space, but the greatest secrets are yet to be revealed. Mars is the planet in our solar system most similar to Earth despite otherworldly features such as the largest volcano in the Solar System. Rumors of life on Mars may be substantiated as NASA orbiters and rovers discover new evidence of frozen water just beneath the rusty soil. Did alien life exist there? As Earth reels with the effects of global warming, Mars becomes the most likely candidate for eventual human habitation. Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to show what life would be like on Mars, and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.



Mass Creation

Mysterious places can be found around the Earth, and, inexplicably, UFOs are often sited near these mystical areas. Planes and ships unaccountably disappear in the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Strange magnetic anomalies in Mexico's Zone of Silence have not only drawn missiles off their course, but seem to pull meteorites out of the sky. An ancient doorway carved into a sheer rock wall in Peru's Puerta de Hayu Marka is said to be a portal to other worlds. Markawasi's plateau is filled with strange rock formations allegedly left behind by an ancient advanced civilization. What connections do these and other "hot spots" share? Is it possible that ancient extraterrestrials also knew about these mysterious places?



Out Of Africa

Alice Roberts introduces the notion that genetic analysis suggests that all modern humans are descended from Africans. She visits the site of the Omo remains in Ethiopia, which are the earliest known anatomically modern humans, and visits the San people of Namibia to demonstrate the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. In South Africa, she visits Pinnacle Point, to see the cave in which very early humans lived. She then explains that genetics suggests that all non-Africans may descend from a single, small group of Africans who left the continent tens of thousands of years ago. She explores various theories as to the route they took. She describes the Jebel Qafzeh remains in Israel as a likely dead end of a traverse across Suez, and sees a route across the Red Sea and the around the Arabian coast as the likelier route for modern human ancestors, especially given the lower sea levels in the past.



Saturn: Lord of the Rings

Program takes a brief look at the dynamics of Saturn's rings before exploring the unique and amazing features of the planet itself, including the curious behavior at the poles, and recent discoveries about Saturn's exotic moons.



Secrets of The Sun

It is a fireball in the sky, a bubbling, boiling, kinetic sphere of white hot plasma, exploding and erupting. Its size is almost unimaginable--one million Earths would fit within its boundaries. In this violence is born almost all the energy that makes existence on Earth possible, yet, its full mysteries are only now beginning to be understood. From Sun spots to solar eclipses, solar flares to solar storms, the birth of the sun to its potential death, discover the science and history behind this celestial object that makes life on Earth exist.



Seeds of Destruction

One by one the Northern states, led by Vermont in 1777, adopted laws to abolish and phase out slavery. Simultaneously, slavery in the Southern United States entered the period of its greatest expansion. Episode three, which starts at the beginning of the 1800s, examines slavery's increasing divisiveness in America as the nation develops westward and cotton replaces tobacco as the country's most valuable crop. The episode weaves national events through the personal histories of two African American slaves -- Harriet Jacobs and Louis Hughes -- who not only managed to escape bondage, but also exposed the horrific realities of the slave experience in autobiographical narratives. These and other stories of physical, psychological, and sexual exploitation fed the fires of a reinvigorated abolitionist movement. With a diverse membership comprised Watch a preview of men and women, blacks and whites, and led by figures including Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Amy Post, abolitionist sentiment gathered strength in the North, contributing to the widening fissure and imminent break-up of the nation.



Spaceship Earth

Take a high performance ride through the formation of the third planet from the Sun, Earth. A survivor of one of the most violent "neighborhoods" in the universe, learn how earth was created and discover what creatures hold clues to how life began. What evil forces threaten the demise of Earth? Complex and controversial, this is the scientific detective story of all time. Cutting-edge graphics are used along with the stories of scientists and explorers who dare to venture into the uncharted territory of the cosmos.



The Americas

In this final episode, Roberts describes theories about how humans traversed from Asia to the Americas, asking how they achieved it during the Ice Age, when the route to North America was blocked by ice walls. She describes the traditional theory that the first Americans were the Clovis culture, who arrived through an ice-free corridor during the end of the Ice Age 13,000 years ago. However, she then visits archaeological sites in Texas, Brazil, the Californian Channel Islands and Monte Verde in southern Chile which show 14,000 year old human remains, proving that humans must have arrived earlier via a different route. She shows the skull of the Luzia Woman, found in Brazil, which displays Australasian features rather than the East Asian features of modern day Native Americans; an archaeologist explains that these first Americans may have been Asians who migrated before Asians developed their distinctive facial features. Roberts shows that the earliest Americans may have migrated down the relatively ice-free western coastlines of North and South America. She concludes by noting that when Europeans arrived in 1492, they did not recognise Native Americans as fully human, but modern genetics and archaeology proves that we all ultimately descend from Africans.



The Challenge of Freedom

Episode four looks at Civil War and Reconstruction through the experiences of South Carolina slave Robert Smalls. It chronicles Smalls' daring escape to freedom, his military service, and his tenure as a congressman after the war. As the events of Smalls' life unfold, the complexities of this period in American history are revealed. The episode shows the transformation of the war from a struggle for union to a battle over slavery. It examines the black contribution to the war effort and traces the gains and losses of newly freed African Americans during Reconstruction. The 13th amendment abolished slavery in 1865, the 14th and 15th amendments guaranteed black civil rights, and the Freedmen's Bureau offered aid to former slaves throughout the 1870s. Watch a preview Yet simultaneously, the formation of militant groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan threatened the future of racial equality and segregation laws began to appear across the country. Slavery's eradication had not brought an end to black oppression.



The Day We Learned To Think

Understanding of humans' earliest past often comes from studying fossils. They tell us much of what we know about the people who lived before us. There is one thing fossils cannot tell us; at what point did we stop living day-to-day and start to think symbolically, to represent ideas about our environment and how we could change it? At a dig in South Africa the discovery of a small piece of ochre pigment, 70,000 years old, has raised some very interesting questions.

Anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) emerged in Africa roughly 100,000 years ago. We know from fossil evidence that Homo sapiens replaced other hominids around them and moved out of Africa into Asia and the Middle East, reaching Europe 40,000 years ago.

Prof Richard Klein believes art is a landmark in human evolution. Unquestionable art that's widespread and common suggests you're dealing with people just like us. No other animals, after all, are able to define a painting as anything other than a collection of colours and shapes. This ability is unique to humans.

Other scientists agree. They believe art defines humans as behaviourally modern, and its beginning must coincide with the ability to speak and use language. If someone has the imagination to devise a shared way to describe their environment using art then it seems inconceivable that they could not possess language and speech. The search for the moment our ancestors became behaviourally just like us is also the hunt for the first evidence of art.



The Downward Spiral

Episode one opens in the 1620s with the introduction of 11 men of African descent and mixed ethnicity into slavery in New Amsterdam. Working side by side with white indentured servants, these men labored to lay the foundations of the Dutch colony that would later become New York. There were no laws defining the limitations imposed on slaves at this point in time. Enslaved people, such as Anthony d'Angola, Emmanuel Driggus, and Frances Driggus could bring suits to court, earn wages, and marry. But in the span of a hundred years, everything changed. By the early 18th century, the trade of African slaves in America was Watch a preview expanding to accommodate an agricultural economy growing in the hands of ambitious planters. After the 1731 Stono Rebellion (a violent uprising led by a slave named Jemmy) many colonies adopted strict "black codes" transforming the social system into one of legal racial oppression.



The End of The Earth

A few of the cosmic threats to life on earth reviewed include meteors, gamma ray bursts and, in the distant future, evolution of the sun.



The Evidence

If ancient aliens visited Earth, what was their legacy, and did they leave behind clues that exist in plain sight such as sophisticated aircraft, complex electrical grids, and intricate construction machinery? Indian Sanskrit texts, dating back to 6000 B.C., describe in varying but vivid detail flying machines called Vimanas. Megalithic stone structures in Egypt reveal evidence of precision saw work. Interpretations of the Jewish Zohar writings offer depictions of a life-sustaining manna machine, eerily similar to chlorella algae processing systems today. Are these examples of modern technology, or is there evidence that these incredible mechanisms existed on Earth thousands of years ago?



The Lost Gods of Easter Island

Explore the history of the civilization of the remote Easter islands.

Attenborough embarks on a personal quest to uncover the history of a strange wooden figurine carving which turned up in an auction room in New York during the 1980s.

The auction catalogue indicated that the carving was from Easter Island and the auctioneers told him that the sculpture had come from a junk-shop dealer in Pennsylvania. He knew that the, "grotesque head, attached to a body grossly elongated and as thin as a stick," was more important than the auctioneers believed it to be and had such presence and power that he bought it. He began an investigation to trace the origins of the artifact—an investigation that spans the globe and leads him on voyages to Russia, Australia, England, the Pacific, a Tahiti beach and finally to one of the most remote places on earth; and 15 years later, in a personal detective story that combines art, anthropology, and history traces the origin of the carving and in doing so tells the story of a forgotten civilization and of a people who inhabited one of the most remote places on Earth.



The Mission

If ancient aliens visited Earth, what was their mission, and is there evidence that points to when they will return? Ancient Sumerian tablets describe an alien race, known as the Anunnaki, who came to Earth to mine for gold. Egyptian hieroglyphs depict hybrid creatures that were part man, part animal. Mysterious crop circles and unexplainable crystal skulls are thought to contain messages that man has yet to decipher. Strange evidence may exist in multiple cultures throughout history suggesting that aliens came here to explore, excavate raw materials, experiment on human beings, and even for pure conquest.



The Moon

The moon has comforted man for thousands of years. It's been everything from a god to a compass, and the only cosmic body human beings have ever visited. NASA is planning to build a permanent outpost there. Discover how the moon came to be--if you don't already know, you will be astounded.



The Return

There is evidence that suggests we experienced 20th century alien contact. In 1942, the Battle of Los Angeles involved the US military and Air Defense allegedly fighting a UFO. WWII Allied Air Force planes were buzzed by balls of light that some think could have been extraterrestrial. And the alleged crash of a flying saucer in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 propelled the world into the age of UFOs. For decades, some people have been searching for the sounds of extraterrestrial intelligence, while others have been sending messages out into deep space. What would happen if aliens answered... or came calling? What protocols exist to determine who would speak on behalf of mankind, and how might we communicate? What happens if they return? Some believe they already have.



The Visitors

If ancient aliens visited Earth, who were they, and where did they come from? Possible historic evidence and beliefs are examined around the world. The Dogon people possess knowledge of a galaxy they claim was given to them by a star god named Amma. The Hopi and Zuni people celebrate Kachinas, gods from the sky, whose headdresses and costumes appear to resemble modern helmets and protective clothing. Halfway around the world, Chinese legends tell of the Han leader, Huangdi, arriving on Earth on a flying, yellow dragon. Was this dragon more likely a spacecraft? Ancient astronaut theorists believe that these are far from chance encounters and that extraterrestrials not only interacted with us, but changed the course of human history.



Underground Aliens

If extraterrestrials influenced human history, can evidence of their existence be found in hidden tunnels and caverns around the world? Could a cave in Ecuador contain metallic books inscribed with secrets of alien technology? Was an ancient underground city in Turkey built with alien help... or as a refuge from an alien attack? Rumors of the U.S. military working alongside aliens in a secret base inside a mesa in New Mexico continue to swirl, Native American legends mention strange inner-Earth beings, and recent archaeological discoveries in the Yucatan may point to an extraterrestrial reality behind.



Underwater Worlds

Ancient underwater cities can be found around the globe, but could these aquatic worlds be the ruins of unknown civilizations-or even proof of extraterrestrial visitations? The infamous tale of the long lost city of Atlantis may be a preserved memory of an ancient alien metropolis. Beneath Lake Titicaca in Peru, the ruins of recently discovered temples support local legends of an underwater UFO base. Ancient Indian texts, known as Sangams, describe sunken cities where aliens and humans intermingled thousands of years ago. Who could have built the 600-foot stepped stone structure off the coast of Japan--a site that may predate the Egyptian pyramids by thousands of years? Could evidence of ancient alien contact lie buried in Earth's deepest oceans?



Unexplained Structures

If ancient aliens visited Earth, can evidence of their existence be found in the mysterious structures that still stand throughout the world? Inexplicably, megalithic structures found on different continents are strikingly similar, and the cutting and moving of the massive stones used to build these magnificent feats would be a struggle for modern day machinery, let alone ancient man. Ancient astronaut theorists suggest that the standing stones in Carnac, France were used as an ancient GPS system for ancient flying machines. The recently discovered Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, which has been dated back 12,000 years, has finely chiseled pillars that experts describe as a Noah's Ark in stone. Is it possible that extraterrestrials assisted primitive man in constructing these unexplained structures? If so, what was the purpose of these grand projects?



Who Built Stonehenge?

Who built Stonehenge and why? Using computer modeling, anthropologists reveal the face of a man who may have contributed to the construction of this ancient structure 4,300 years ago.