Astronomer Dr. Carl Sagan is host and narrator of this 13 - hour series that originally aired on Public Broadcasting Stations in the United States. Dr. Sagan describes the universe in a way that appeals to a mass audience, by using Earth as a reference point, by speaking in terms intelligible to non-scientific people, by relating theexploration of space to that of the Earth by pioneers of old, and by citing such Earth legends as the Library of Alexandria as metaphors for space-related future events. Among Dr.Sagan's favorite topics are the origins of life, the search for life on Mars, the infernal composition of the atmosphere of Venus and an warning about a similar effect talking place on Earth due to global pollution and the "greenhouse effect", the lives of stars, interstellar travel and the effects of attaining the speed of light, the danger of mankind technologically self - destructing, and the search, using radio technology, for interlligent life in deep space.
Ep. 1. - The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
At the beginning of this awe-inspiring cosmic journey, COSMOS host Dr. Carl Sagan takes viewers to the edge of the universe aboard the Spaceship of the Imagination. Though beautiful and accurate special effects, we witness quasars, exploding galaxies, star clusters, supernovas and pulsars. Returning to the Solar System, we enter an astonishing recreation of the Alexandrian Library, seat of learning on Earth 2000 years ago.
Ep. 2. - One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue
Dr. Sagan?s Cosmic Calendar makes the 15 billion year history of the universe understandable and frames the origin of the Earth and the evolution of life. We see the steps from microbes to humans. Our understanding of how life developed on Earth enables us to venture to other worlds for imaginative speculations on what forms life might take elsewhere in the Cosmos.
Ep. 3. - The Harmony of the Worlds
Historical re-creation of the life and time of Johanners Kepler ? the last scientific astrologer, the first modern astronomer, and the author of the first science fiction novel. Kepler provided the insight into how the moon planets move in their orbits and ultimately how to journey to them.
Ep. 4. - Heaven and Hell
A descent through the hellish atmosphere of Venus to explore its broiling surface serves as a warning for our world about the possible consequences of the increasing greenhouse effect. Then Dr. Sagan leads viewers on a tour of the Solar System to see how other heavenly bodies have suffered from various cosmic catastrophes.
Ep. 5. - Blues for a Red Planet Is there life on Mars?
Dr. Sagan takes viewers on a never ?before-seen look at the red planet through the eye of science fiction authors the unblinking eyes of two Viking spacecrafts that have sent thousands of pictures of the stunning Martian landscape back to Earth since 1976.
Ep. 6. - Travellers Table
The exhilaration of 17th Century Dutch explorers who ventured in sailing ships halfway around our planet in their quest for wealth and knowledge is compared to an inside view of the excitement of Voyager?s expeditions to Jupiter and Saturn. The newly acquired treasures of our present golden age of exploration are the focus of this episode.
Ep.7. - The Backbone of Night
Humans once thought the stars were campfires in the sky and the milky way ?The Backbone of Night?. In this fascinating segment, COSMOS host Dr. Carl Sagan takes viewers back to ancient Greece when the right answer to such a basic question as ?What are the Stars?? was first glimpsed. He visits the Brooklyn elementary school of his childhood where this same question is still being asked.
Ep. 8. - Travels in Space and Time
A startling voyage to see how star patterns change over millions of years is followed by a journey to the planets of other stars, and a look at the possibility of time travel- which takes us to Italy, where the youthful Albert Einstein first wondered what it would be like to ride on a beam of light.
Ep. 9. - The Lives of the Stars
Using computer animation and amazing astronomical art, astronomer and COSMOS host, Dr. Carl Sagan, shows how stars are born, live, die, and sometimes collapse to form neutron stars or black holes. Viewers then journey into the future to witness ?the last perfect day on Earth,? 5 billion years from now, after which the Sun will engulf our planet in the fires of its death throes.
Ep.10. - The Edg of Forever
Dr.Sagan leads viewers on awesome trips ? to a time when galaxies were beginning to form, to India to explore the infinite cycles of Hindu cosmology, and to show how humans of this century discovered the expanding universe and its origin in the Big Bang. He disappears down a black hole and reappears in New Mexico to show viewers an array of 17 telescopes probing the furthest reaches of space.
Ep.11. - The Persistence of Memory
The brain is the focus of this fascinating portion of our journey as Dr. Sagan examines another of the intelligent creatures with whom we share the planet Earth ? the whales. Then we wind through the maze of the human brain to witness the architecture of thought. We see how genes, brains and books store the information necessary to human survival.
Ep.12. - Encyclopedia Gallactica
Are there alien intelligences? How could we communicate with them? What about UFOs? The answers to these questions take us to Egypt to decode ancient hieroglyphics, to the largest radio telescope on Earth and, in the Spaceship of the Imagination, to visit other civilizations in space. Dr. Sagan answers questions such as
?What is the lifespan of a planetary civilization? Will we one day hook up with a network of civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy??
Ep.13. - Who Speaks for Earth?
Through the use of startling effects we retrace the 15 billion year journey from the Big Bang to the present. The tragic story of the martyrdom of Hypatia, the woman scientist of ancient Alexandria, is told. This is the famous COSMOS episode on nuclear war in which Dr. Sagan argues that our responsibility for survival is owed not just to ourselves, but also to the Cosmos ancient and vast, from which we spring.
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