Wonders of the Solar System Episode 3 The Thin Blue Line


In this spellbinding series Professor Brian Cox visits the most extreme locations on Earth to explain how the laws of physics carved natural wonders across the solar system.
Episode 1 Empire of the Sun – The first episode illustrates how the formation and behaviour of the Sun affects each planet in the Solar System. During this episodeCox visits India to view and explain the workings of a total solar eclipse. The Aurora Borealis is also seen in Norway and an explanation of the power of the Sun occurs in Death Valley, California, USA.
Episode 2 Order Out of Chaos – Cox starts this episode in Al-Qayrawan, Tunisia to analyse the orbit of the planets around our Sun, with details on how the tilt of the Earth creates the seasons. He also visits the Atlas Mountains and provides an explanation of the how we see the orbit of Mars. This episode also provides an insight on the rings of Saturn and the geysers of Enceladus, including images shown as seen from the CassiniHuygens space probe.
Episode 3 The Thin Blue Line – The third episode looks at the atmosphere of the planets and moons of the Solar System, with Earth, Mars, and Titan being the main focus. The episode starts with Cox taking a journey in an English Electric Lightning piloted by Mike Beachy Head up to an altitude “between 55 and 60 thousand feet” where the “thinness and fragility” of the atmosphere could be observed in the middle of the day transitioning “from light blue to dark blue to black”. Laterthe Namib Desert is seen and used to give an explanation on how the Earth keeps its temperature, along with comparisons made to Mars. An in depth look at Titan is seen with footage shown from the Huygens probe descent down to the surface of the moon.
Episode 4 Dead or Alive – The fourth episode begins at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA, and immediate comparisons are drawn to Mars and the Valles Marineris. A trip to Kalauea on Hawaii shows the geological activity of Earth, and again a comparison to Mars and Olympus Mons is seen. An analysis of Jupiter’s gravitational effect is given with how it could potentially send an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The same gravitational force is also shown to give the Jovian moon Io geological life.
Episode 5 Aliens – The final installment covers life surviving in extreme environments, and how the search for life on other worlds follows the search for water, focusing on Mars, and on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Cox begins by traveling to the deep ocean to draw comparisons between space travel. The Atacama Desert in South America is also viewed, which is seen to explain the lack of life found there. A trip to the Scablands in North-West America is also made with an explanation of the Missoula Floods that once occurred there, and how it shaped the landscape geologically. More examinations of life come with a trip to Mexico and how life survives in caves, comparing the noxious “snottites” of a Mexican cave with possible life on Mars.