WITH SAM NEILL
Black holes are the Universe’s ultimate monsters, sucking everything into their super-dense centres.
Black holes were once thought to be …the monsters of the Universe, devouring everything around them in a frenzied cosmic feast. But now astronomers think that rather than being a space menace, black holes may be fundamental to the creation of galaxies.
Black holes are regions of space where gravity is so strong that not even light can escape, making them impossible to see. But we can see the stuff that is being sucked in to these massive cosmic vacuum cleaners. Anything that approaches a black hole is first torn apart by its immense gravitational force and then forms a flat rotating disc that spirals into the hole.
There are over four hundred thousand million stars in our Galaxy alone. Where do we start looking for life?
With hundreds of telescopes …now involved in the SETI programme, there is lots of data to look through. Spotting strong signals is easy, but finding a weak signal takes lots of computer time.
Terraforming and humanity’s colonisation of other planets.
How could humans migrate from planet Earth?
– …Explore the Solar System – Mars – the likely candidate – Human exploration, past and future
Space (Hyperspace in the United States) was a 2001 BBC documentary with various subtitles reflecting the specific topic. Narrated by Sam Neill, this is a six-part series.
If humans are ever to reach deep space, there will need to be some revolutionary changes in transport.
Dreamt up at the …beginning of last century, solar sails are now moving a step closer to reality, as one of the most feasible ways of travelling into deep space. They are lightweight panels made from reflective material that act like the sails of a boat. Rather than using wind, the sails are actually propelled by light. Unbelievable as it may seem, the stream of light particles (called photons) emitted from the Sun are strong enough to push a mini-spacecraft right out of the Solar System and beyond into interstellar space.