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Nova

Saving The Dead Sea

There's no place on Earth like it. Cleopatra attributed her beauty to its secrets. King Herod built one of the world's first health spas on its shores. And as the biblical story goes, "rocks and fire falling from the sky" buried Sodom and Gomorrah and the sea became "the sea of salt" — The Dead Sea. Now this wonder of the world is dying. Since 1976, its level has declined by more than sixty-five feet. Its coastline is pockmarked with thousands of sinkholes. Can the Dead Sea be saved? After more than a decade of research and debate, scientists, engineers and political leaders have come up with a daring plan, one that could not only save the sea but help bring stability to a region rife with conflict. NOVA follows this unprecedented endeavor — perhaps the world's largest water chemistry experiment ever — as scientists and engineers race to save the Dead Sea and help bring water to one of the driest regions on Earth.

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Full Episodes
Season
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Episode
53:47
Nova

Looking for Life on Mars

NASA launches its most ambitious search yet for traces of ancient life on Mars.
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Episode
53:26
Nova

Secrets in our DNA

More than 12 million Americans have sent their DNA to be analyzed by companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA, but what actually happens once the sample is in the hands of testing companies? What are they looking at and how accurate are they?
The sun from outer space shines down on Earth. | From "NOVA: Can We Cool the Planet?"
Episode
53:31
Nova

S47 E16: Can We Cool The Planet?

As global temperatures rise, scientists are exploring geoengineering solutions, from planting trees to sucking carbon out of the air to physically blocking out sunlight. But would it work? And what are the risks of engineering Earth's climate?
A spacecraft floating in space over an asteroid. | From "NOVA: Touching the Asteroid"
Episode
54:03
Nova

S47 E15: Touching The Asteroid

If spacecraft OSIRIS-REx can grab a piece of an asteroid and bring it back to Earth, scientists could gain great insight into our planet's origins, and even how to defend against rogue asteroids. But NASA only gets three shots at collecting a sample.
An early printing press. | From "NOVA: A to Z - How Writing Changed The World"
Episode
53:31
Nova

S47 E14: A to Z – How Writing Changed The World

Just as handwritten records changed how societies work, the printing press transformed the spread of information, igniting the Industrial Revolution. How did technologies — from pen to paper to printing press — make it all possible?
A person doing calligraphy on a piece of paper. | From "NOVA: A to Z - The First Alphabet"
Episode
54:01
Nova

S47 E13: A to Z – The First Alphabet

Writing shaped civilization itself, from the trading of goods to tales of ancient goddesses and kings. Follow the evolution of the written word, from millennia-old carvings in an Egyptian turquoise mine to our modern-day alphabets.
Closeup of slime branching out. | From "NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime"
Episode
53:17
Nova

S47 E12: Secret Mind of Slime

Scientists investigate the bizarre "intelligence" of slime molds, which appear to learn and make decisions — without a brain. These cunning, single-celled blobs can navigate mazes and create efficient networks. Can they also redefine cognition?
Microscopic image of DNA. | From "NOVA: Human Nature"
Episode
1:33:41
Nova

S47 E11: Human Nature

Our DNA can determine attributes from eye color to medical predispositions. An extraordinary technology called CRISPR allows us to edit human DNA, possibly eliminating genetic diseases or choosing our children's features. But how far should we go?
An illustration of the coronavirus. | "Nova: Decoding COVID-19"
Episode
53:38
Nova

S47 E9: Decoding COVID-19

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has upended life as we know it in a matter of mere months. But at the same time, an unprecedented global effort to understand and contain the virus-and find a treatment for the disease it causes-is underway.
A graphic depicting wolf-like animals from Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. | From "NOVA: Nature's Fear Factor"
Episode
53:31
Nova

S47 E9: Nature's Fear Factor

When top predators disappeared from Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park, other animals fell into unusual patterns. Now scientists are reintroducing wild dogs to restore the park's "landscape of fear" and with it the natural balance of the ecosystem.
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