Moon Mysteries

The series features various subjects related to science and technology. Some of the views expressed might be considered fringe or pseudo-science and some of the scientists may present opinions which have not been properly peer-reviewed or are not widely accepted within their scientific communities, in particular on topics such as Bermuda Triangle or Atlantis for example.
Season 3
Episode 1 Moon Mysteries – Without the moon in the sky, would there be life on earth? Naked Science investigates what our world would be like without the moon. The moon is far more than just a beautiful object in the night sky. Ever since its creation 4.5 billion years ago the moon has been edging away from Earth into space. Throughout its journey, it has influenced our planet in different ways. But one things clear, without it life would never have emerged on Earth. 4.5 billion years ago the moon forms when another planet slams into the early Earth. The impact knocks our planet “off-balance” onto an axis of 23 degrees, which we still rotate around today. This is what gives us our seasons. Without it we would have no summers, springs, winters or falls. 4 billion years ago the solar system endures the most violent meteorite bombardment in its history, the Lunar Cataclysm. The Earth, being 50 times bigger than the moon, exerts a massive gravitational pull on incoming space debris. Because the moon is still so close to Earth it too gets hit. 99% of all craters on the lunar surface visible today are a result of this bombardment. 3 billion years ago the Earth has water and oceans. Because the moon is far closer its gravitational pull is far stronger on the Earth. The tides it creates are thousands of feet high and smash hundreds of miles inland every day. Scientists believe that these tides feed the Primordial Soup with the minerals required to start life. Without them only the most basic microbes would be on Earth today. Today the moon has the same gravitational pull as a mosquito landing on your head, yet some people still believe it can influence our planet in bizarre ways. The San Francisco Police Department tell us how crime appears to soar during a full moon. But the scientific data suggests otherwise, studies show no correlation between the Full Moon and violence. Naked Science investigates. Scientific research into the moon is allowing some scientists to predict when natural disasters will strike. Some researchers believe that when the sun and moon align and pull together on the Earth they can trigger both earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In the future the moon will move so far from Earth that it will affect the fine balance of our planet, sending our climate tumbling out of control.
Episode 2 Hot Science from Canada – Canadian research developments include a liquid telescope and the study of neutrons.
Episode 3 What’s Sexy? – Find out truth about the secrets of sexual attraction. We measures the intricate inner workings of lovers in love, as well as lovers that stray. Explore the mysteries of human sexuality. Human sexual attraction is bewildering, exasperating, euphoric and potentially dangerous. It is, like romantic love, an indefinable essence. The beating pulse, the clammy palms, and the flood of chemicals to our brain, are all part of the mysterious alchemy of attraction. All of us know that our culture values sexiness a lot, just look at our advertising. But what is ‘sexiness’ from a scientific point of view and what makes ‘sexy’ ‘sexy’? The ‘sexiness’ the scientists are exploring is more than stand to attention breasts and washboard abs. This ‘sexiness’ is central to the survival of our species. It is nature’s way of ensuring that we reproduce, at just the right time, with just the right partner. Nature understands the benefits of couples staying together for more than a one night stand, long enough to raise our kids. In this compelling program, Naked Science, reveals just how manipulative nature can be. Evolution has made us all vulnerable to nature’s complex chemical cocktail of hormones. And subconscious desires control what we find sexy, and who we think of as ‘hot’ or not. To provide for themselves and their offspring, women seek providers, men with money, power, maturity, ambition, stability, commitment, health, and cooperative natures. Men, for similar reasons, invest their time, resources, and sperm in young, beautiful, and fertile women who will give them heirs and status. The capacity for multiple partners, casual sex, jealousy (a protective response), and divorce are all adaptive mechanisms to help people achieve their reproductive potential. Taking desire into the lab, Naked Science can reveal that when it comes to attraction, we are at the mercy of our biochemistry. And these feelings are so powerful that they should carry a Government health warning. Research concludes that sexual attraction is a biologically based drive just like hunger or thirst. The science of attraction helps account for why we might cross the Atlantic for a single kiss or plunge into hopeless despair if our lover dumps us. It’s this drive for love that enables us to focus on one particular person, although we often can’t explain why. ‘Sexiness’, ‘desire’, call it what you will, is distilled from an intoxicating hormonal mix designed to encourage human reproduction. A chemical cocktail that really does make the world go around.
Episode 4 Atkins Diet – Answers to science’s most provocative questions.
Episode 5 Death of the Sun – In one way or another, all life on earth relies on the sun. How did this star form, and how does it power itself. When it dies, will it take with it all the life in our solar system? The Sun is the most powerful force in our solar system. It generates the heat and light that sustains us. Without it we wouldn’t have life on Earth. But the Sun is violent and volatile and is becoming more dangerous as it ages. Naked Science explores the life and death of the Sun. We explore what will happen in the future as the Sun ages, and how our lives linked to the Sun’s life cycle. Firstly we want to understand how the Sun was created from a giant cloud of dust and gas. Scientists pretty much agree on the theory but physical evidence is hard to come by. Naked Science meets scientists at Johnson Space Center who have been working on a ten year mission to bring a piece of the Sun back to Earth. How do scientists collect samples of the Sun when a probe could never get near the Sun’s surface? We follow NASA’s dare devil mission to capture the samples. Today we rely on the Sun to live. It’s energy fuels trees and plants which are essential for the food chain we all depend upon. But how do we get the energy? Naked Science explores the incredible journey that the particles of light from the Sun have to make to earth to deliver their energy. How old is the Sun? This is a question which has fascinated scientists for a long time. Scientists have now established the Sun’s age with the aid of one remarkable fact that the Sun sings. We visit Big Bear Solar Observatory in California to meet one of the scientists who has been at the forefront of using the Sun’s sounds to determine its age. The Sun’s warmth and light helped life on Earth to begin but it can also play havoc with our modern way of life. Billions of tons of plasma erupting from the sun send powerful storms hurtling through our solar system. We visit the Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colorado where they try to predict the sun’s violent moods. 1989 brought one of the most dramatic space storms and Naked Science uncovers the events which took place on the Earth. But what lies behind the explosive events on the Sun. We travel to the California Institute of Technology in Los Angeles where they are trying to understand the science behind the explosions by creating them in the laboratory. But what about the risks of solar storms to astronauts in Space? Naked Science meets Michael Foale who was directly in the line of fire on the International Space Station during the intense solar activity in 2003. There is one solar event astronauts can’t be protected from. A superflare. Superflares are up to 10 million times more energetic than the most powerful solar flares. Naked Science journeys to Louisiana to meet an astrophysicist who has found evidence of nine stars that have experienced superflares. What if our sun ever produced a superflare, what would happen to life on earth? We know when the sun was born, how it nurtured us and how it has thrown a fair amount of danger our way. But how and when will it die and will the Earth survive?
Episode 6 Big Freeze – Earth plummets into periods of intense cold, time after time. Forget volcanoes, the oceans can trigger far worse, thousand-year freezes. Strangely, global warming could trigger the next big chill. The question is: When will we next freeze over? The most recent “Earth changing” eruption occurred 1,500 years ago. These events can create or destroy civilisations and cultures, and form much of the modern world we live in today. But ominously these volcanically induced drops in temperature are just a blip compared to other drops that have occurred in the past. Evidence shows that time after time our planet nose-dives into Freezes that last over a thousand years. The effects on life are catastrophic. Entire species are wiped off the face of the planet. The last of these thousand year Big Freezes happened 11,500 years ago and pushed countless animals to extinction. These huge Big Freezes can be caused by changes in our oceans. Our oceans constantly flow in a circuit called the Great Ocean Conveyor. This transports cold water to the equator and transports warm water to the poles. But sometimes this system shuts down triggering massive climatic changes around the world and triggering a Big Freeze that lasts a thousand years.
Episode 7 Roman Tech- The Roman Empire collapsed 1500 years ago but much of the technology it developed is used as a blueprint for modern living. With an extremely effective military and advanced weapons, the Roman Empire was one of the world’s earliest superpowers. What did the Romans do for us? They invented the modern world. Modern cities, modern warfare, modern living all first came together in ancient Rome. The Romans were the first superpower, controlling around a quarter of the world’s population. This film looks at how they used technology to hold together their empire. We see the ingenious pilum, a spear cleverly designed so that the enemy couldn’t throw it back; the scorpion, a bolt-firing weapon of war; and the rock-hurling ballista, the fore-runner of modern artillery. We learn how they built their roads, the arteries of the empire that, put end to end, would stretch twice around the world. Roman cities, with their grid pattern, paved the way for the cities of today. They had hot baths, central heating, flushing toilets and double-glazing. They built apartment blocks 8 stories high, and to entertain their citizens built stunning buildings like the Pantheon and Colosseum (or Coliseum). But holding everything together at the heart of the Empire, was water. No city can survive without a supply of drinking water. Great aqueducts carried water into Rome from springs 11 miles away. When the planners of New York were building their water system, they travelled to Italy to copy the Romans.
Episode 8 Lightning Strike – Faster than a speeding bullet and six times hotter than the surface of the sun, lightning strikes our planet up to eight million times every day. Follow a lightning bolt on its incredible journey from outer space to deep inside the human body. Six times hotter than the surface of the sun, lightning is one of the world’s strangest phenomena. This film follows the progress of a lightning stroke, from its birth in the clouds, to the weird sounds called whistlers that follow it. In Australia we follow lightning researchers flying into storm clouds, to discover what triggers a lightning stroke. At the International Lightning Center in Florida we find new research that suggests that cosmic rays from outer space trigger lightning. We meet a golfer struck by lightning, and reveal what happens when you’re hit. Why do some people survive, when others don’t? One of the weirdest forms of lightning is ball lightning, but is it real, or a myth? We talk to people who have seen it. And we see stunning footage of sprites and other forms of lightning that go up from clouds towards space, and see them recreated in a laboratory. The film climaxes with the discovery that without lightning, we wouldn’t have satellite communication. Our modern way of life would be impossible.
Episode 9 The Deep – The sea floor pressure is so intense that more people have walked on the moon, than have visited the deepest oceanic trench. Home to volcanoes and the longest living animals on the planet Naked Science examines what you’d find if you drained the oceans. What would you see if you could drain the ocean? Well if you were patient enough, you’d see a conveyor belt moving. This film tells the story of the moving sea floor, from its formation at the mid-ocean ridges, to its demise in the deep-sea trenches thousands of miles away. We compress a journey that takes 200 million years into an incident packed 50 minutes. We start with the mystery of Hawaii, an island that is sinking, and moving. But why? The first clue came in the Second World War, when a US landing craft commander deduced that the sea floor was moving. To discover why, we dive to the strange underwater world of the ocean ridges where volcanic rock spewing out of the earth creates new sea floor. This is the realm of black smokers, and white chimneys, hydrothermal vents that create their own ecosystem. From here we descend to the flat landscape of the abyssal plain, where the only features are decaying whale carcasses. Even here, the evidence shows that the seabed is moving. Finally, we see strange mud volcanoes thrown up as the sea floor descends into the deepest part of the ocean, and melts back into the mantle of the earth.
Episode 10 Explosive Force – Explosives have advanced rapidly over 300 years from gun powder to the atomic bomb. Enter secret laboratories where scientists seek the perfect combination of stability and destructive force. See how terrorists have usurped this science for their own ends.What makes something go bang? We dissect an explosion, from the moment of detonation to the impact of the blast. This film visits some of the most secretive and secure government locations to bring you everything you ever wanted to know about explosions. We see why low explosives are useful. When we put high explosives in a gun, it explodes; the reaction is just too fast. And we explore the science of detonation. At Lawrence Livermore’s test range, we see just what punishment an explosive will take before it explodes. And to discover how explosions got bigger and bigger, we visit Los Alamos, and see how they test nuclear warheads without covering the landscape in radiation. But the biggest explosion of all could be an antimatter bomb. Is such a device feasible, and what would it take to make one?
Episode 11 Pyramids – Magnificent, awe-inspiring and mysterious, Egypt’s Great Pyramid has fascinated humankind for thousands of years. Examine the construction and legends surrounding one of the world’s oldest structures. For over four and a half thousand years the pyramids of Egypt have stood as wonders of the world. The facts are astonishing, the Great Pyramid alone weighs almost six million tons and contains over 2.3 million stone blocks. Naked Science sets out to uncover four great mysteries that still surround the pyramids, how were they built, who built them, why were they built, and what secrets may still lie hidden within their stones. As four millennia and countless generations stand between us and the men who built the pyramids we have to study the buildings themselves to uncover the answers. With British engineer Denys Stocks we learn the art of pyramid building. Stocks has spent twenty years mastering the techniques used by the ancient workmen and shows how such vast quantities of stone were quarried, transported and fitted by a civilisation that had not even invented the wheel. To show the scale of the achievement we asked construction manager and pyramid scholar Craig Smith to calculate what it would take to build a pyramid in today’s money. We may know the names of the pharaohs who commissioned the pyramids but who actually hauled the blocks. Legends have always held that slaves built the pyramids but we venture into the science of Forensic Egyptology to discover the truth. Mark Lehner discovered the town of the pyramid builders while Zahi Hawass takes us on a tour of their tombs. There may be few records of how the pyramids were built but hieroglyphic texts within some pyramids hint at their reveal purpose. Salima Ikram and Jim Allen help us find for the reason why the pyramids were built within these spells and incantations. However Robert Bauval, believes there may be deep connections between the pyramids and astronomy. He believes links to the stars are hidden within their stones and chambers. Finally we follow work in pyramid exploration as teams hunt for hidden chambers and use robots to explore the mysterious shafts at the centre of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Episode 12 Colliding Continents – Where did the land we stand on come from? Travel back in time to see how massive rocks floating on the Earth’s molten mantle became our modern continents. Then visit the Grand Canyon, Iceland and South Africa for a close up of these ancient land masses.
Episode 13 Triumph of the Tank – After every major war the tank is written off by its critics as a relic, but with every generation it reinvents itself and is victorious on the battlefield once again; a look at the world’s best tank and how technology has made tanks triumphant.
Episode 14 Birth of the Universe – A glass of water contains some of the most basic building blocks of matter found in the Universe. Naked Science goes back to the beginning of time to examine the birth of the ingredients. Where does a cup of coffee come from? In this film, it’s not Starbucks, it’s stars busting. We go right back to the beginning of time to show where the ingredients in your cup of coffee were born. The main ingredient is hydrogen; it makes up most of the water in your cup. And that formed in the big bang. How it got from there, into your cappuccino is one of the most dramatic stories in science. It has taken thousands of scientists to track its trail. We follow it through stars and galaxies, exploding supernovae, and giant clouds of gas to show just how it reached your cup. But that isn’t the end of the story. For where it goes in the future, depends on the fate of the universe. Will it carry on expanding for ever, or tear itself apart?
Episode 15 Freeze Me – People hoping for a second chance at life sign up for costly cryo-preservation to go into a deep freeze for hundreds of years.
Episode 16 Forensics Under Fire – Forensic techniques of fire investigation and firearms analysis.
Episode 17 Ancient Asteroid – Answers to science’s most provocative questions.
Episode 18 Human Extinction – Examining three mass extinctions to determine if it could happen again.
Episode 19 Episode Deadliest Planets – What are the most violent and dangerous planets in our Solar System? One day the time may come when humans have developed technology advanced enough to send sections of Earth’s population to settle on other planets. What kinds of world can we expect to find, how do they compare with our own, and what measures would we need to take to adapt to their alien environments? Join us, as we take a journey through the Solar System and beyond, examining some of the most extreme characteristics of our planetary neighbours.
Episode 20 Evolution- Was Darwin Wrong? – Our planet Earth is teeming with life. To some it’s a miracle, but can science explain how it came into existence? Critics have attacked the theory of evolution for over 150 years, claiming it is full of holes, and the gaps reveal the hand of an intelligent designer. Who’s right – we investigate the most explosive science of them all and ask, was Darwin wrong?