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Everything disperses. Collapse into disorder is the spring of the universe. Peter Atkins, interview Horizon: What is One Degree? BBC 2011
This is a war universe. War all the time ... ours seems to be based on war and games. William S Burroughs
It’s fairly astounding that at the end of the twentieth century we actually don’t know what most of the universe is made of. Neil Spooner, Sheffield University
Astrophysicists believe that Space and Time began 15 billion years ago in one shattering moment: the Big Bang. They are now uncovering the entire life story of the universe from its cataclysmic birth to its final extraordinary death. Unfolding Universe, 2002
When did the clocks start ticking? Twelve billion years ago there was absolutely nothing: no matter, no space, no time. We may never know how or why it happened, but a seething mass of energy smaller than an atom grew from nothing ... A giant fireball of unimaginable heat. Universe: Big Bang, Channel 4 1999
Hidden in the interference of a badly tuned TV set is the energy signal left from the first second of the universe. The discovery of the Big Bang was one of the great scientific discoveries of all time even though it was an accident. This is the Horn Antenna at the Bell Research Labs in New Jersey. Its unusual funnel shape was designed to collect faint radio waves from early communications satellites. It was being used for an entirely different experiment when it detected something truly remarkable: a discovery that would win two American scientists the Nobel Prize. In 1964 Bob Wilson and his colleague Arno Penzias ... had no idea where the signal was coming from ... What Wilson and Penzias had stumbled across was a background of microwave radiation, a faint afterglow of the battle that defeated anti-matter twelve billion years before. ibid.
Edwin Hubble took the first steps toward forecasting the fate of our entire universe ... He made the astronomical discovery of the century: that the universe was expanding. ibid.
Rather than slowing down, the universe is speeding up. The galaxies are moving apart faster than ever before. ibid.
Giant prominences erupt from its surface. They could swallow the Earth dozens of times over. Like giant fingers they stretch for millions of miles into the vacuum of space. Universe: Stars
The Sun’s raging surface is turbulent. Its eruptions ripped and torn by enormous magnetic fields. Soho revealed that like the Earth the Sun has weather: gigantic solar tornadoes twist through its atmosphere. And gigantic shockwaves ripple across its surface. The surface of the Sun is heaving. Every five minutes the entire star breathes in and out. Our Sun is pulsating. ibid.
Every eleven years the sunspots increase in number and size. ibid.
The NASA scientists have discovered that life can survive in places where no-one had expected. It now turns out that life can survive just about anywhere that there is water. It doesn’t seem to matter how hostile the environment is. Universe: Life
The tenacity of life here in Earth’s most extreme environments encourages many biologists to believe that life may be remarkably widespread throughout the universe. ibid.
At the start of a new millennium we’re about to embark on the greatest adventure of all time. 500,000,000 miles from Earth a spacecraft will land of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Its mission: to search for alien life. ibid.
The microbes of Europa would have to be far tougher than their Arctic counterparts. They’d have to survive lethal doses of radiation generated by Jupiter’s powerful magnetism. ibid.
The Sun is the superpower of the our solar system. A thermonuclear blast furnace erupting with massive explosions. The Universe s1e1: Secrets of the Sun, History 2007
Our Sun is a type of star known as a Yellow Dwarf. ibid.
It’s been burning this way for billions of years. ibid.
The Sun’s magnetic field is a tangled web. ibid.
It takes its name from the Roman god of war. A distant rusty orb in the night sky. A source of rampant speculation for centuries. The Universe s1e2: Mars the Red Planet
Scientists today think that Mars was once warm enough for large amounts of liquid water to float across its surface. ibid.
Water ice hidden from view appears to radiate out hundreds of miles in all directions from the poles. ibid.
Earth: the only life-sustaining planet in our Solar System. Yet throughout its history our world has been a planetary punching bag … They are racing to track down these cosmic killers before they trigger Armageddon. The Universe s1e3: End of the Earth
Scientists call these trespassers Near Earth Objects or NEOs. ibid.
400 million miles from Earth exists a mini solar system of over 16 moons rotating around a powerful planet of gas. The Universe s1e4: Jupiter: The Giant Planet
Its giant red eye was actually the eye of an enormous storm … raged for at least three hundred years … What then keeps it going? ibid.
NASA is planning a permanent outpost there. The Universe s1e5: The Moon
Our moon is the largest in relation to its host planet. ibid.
The mean distance of the Earth from the moon is 234,000 miles. ibid.
Earth still remains one of the most wondrous and mystifying creations in the universe. The Universe s1e6: Spaceship Earth
Three-quarters of the sphere is covered in water. ibid.
As the boulders grew larger so did the collisions. ibid.
Formation of the Earth’s core, sometimes called the Iron Catastrophe, occurred within the first forty million years of our planet’s existence. It had a profound effect on the Earth’s future. ibid.
Where did Earth get the water from? ibid.
The Asteroid Belt [is] located between Mars and Jupiter. These warm ice-bearing bodies may have the same water as Earth because they were all formed in the inner solar system which is closer to the Sun. What’s more, startling new evidence suggests that these usual comets may not only have delivered water to Earth, they may also have seeded our planet with the building blocks of life itself. ibid.
Could primitive life have survived a caustic environment? ibid.
Could the building blocks of life have come from somewhere else? Perhaps from an extraterrestrial object. ibid.
Consensus that the first life-forms were single-celled organisms that lived in the oceans. ibid.
Because of cyanobacteria life was able to diversify and become more complex very rapidly. ibid.
Microbes reigned supreme for much of Earth’s history. They revolutionised the planet and paved the way for a myriad of more sophisticated species. But it was land that gave life-forms a new home. ibid.
Its history has been compared to a twenty-four-hour clock with man occupying only the final two seconds of the day. ibid.
Spaceship Earth may return to its tumultuous beginnings. ibid.
The Earth’s north and south poles are known as the cryosphere. ibid.
The prognosis is bleak. ibid.
In the grand scheme of things we may already have had a good run. ibid.
Venus and Mercury: two hostile planets that in the history of universe have suffered very different fates ... Both demonstrate the horrors of the planets that have gone horribly wrong. The Universe s1e7: Inner Planets
It turns out Venus is less an exotic sister to Earth and more like an evil twin. ibid.