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  • This is our world

  • a warm, comfortable, familiar place

  • But walk away from the fire and look up

  • our thoughts soon leave home

  • Are we just insignificant specks?

  • Is the universe welcoming or hostile?

  • We could stand here forever wondering

  • or we could turn our back on this beach, leave home

  • to see the universe, from here to its edge

  • to discover its wonders

  • confront its horrors

  • beautiful new worlds

  • malevolent dark forces

  • the beginning of time

  • the end of the world

  • Would we have the courage to see it through

  • or would we run for home?

  • There is only one way to find out

  • The edge of space

  • only 100km up, just an hour's drive from home

  • Down there, life continues

  • The traffic keeps moving

  • stocks go on trading and Star Trek is still showing

  • But we have to leave all this behind

  • To dip our toe into the vast dark ocean beyond

  • Into the shallows

  • not too far from home

  • onto.. the moon

  • Dozens of astronauts have come this way before us

  • 12 of them have walked on the moon itself

  • Just over 400,000km from home

  • 3 days in a spacecraft

  • So close, it's as if we've barely left home

  • Familiar, safe

  • within the sight of earth

  • It looks like a deserted battlefield

  • bombarded by millions of meteorites and asteroids

  • But it's quieter now

  • It's obvious there have been no major collisions for millions of years

  • This brings back memories

  • the Apollo 11, lunar module

  • Neil Armstrong's first footprints

  • looks like they were made yesterday

  • there is no air to change them

  • They should survive for millions of years

  • may be longer than us

  • Our time is limited

  • We need to take our own giant leap

  • further than any human as ever travels

  • Out of the darkness, a friendly face

  • the goddess of love

  • Venus

  • The morning star, the evening star

  • Sometimes she welcomes the new day in the east

  • others she says good night in the west

  • The planet's spectacular yellow clouds reflect the sunlight

  • That's why this is the solar system's brightest planet

  • a sister to our planet

  • She is about the same size and gravity as earth

  • We should be safe here

  • But the Venus Express space probe is telling us these dazzling clouds

  • are made of deadly sulfuric acid

  • that the planet's atmosphere is choked with carbon dioxide

  • It's ringing alarm bells

  • Venus is one angry goddess

  • The air is noxious,

  • the pressure unbearable

  • and it's hot,

  • approaching 500 degree Celsius

  • Stay too long

  • and we'd be corroded, suffocated, crushed and baked

  • Noting can survive here

  • Like this,

  • it's a Soviet Venera robotic probe

  • its heavy armor has been wrecked by the extreme atmosphere

  • So lovely from earth,

  • up close, this goddess is hideous

  • She is the sister from hell

  • pockmarked by thousands of volcanos

  • All that carbon dioxide in its atmosphere is trapping the sun's heat

  • This is global warming gone wild

  • Before it was cold, maybe Venus was calm

  • more like her sister planet earth

  • If that's true, this could be our planet's future

  • Beginning to think we shouldn't be out here

  • that we should turn back

  • But there's something hypnotic about the sun

  • Like Medusa, too terrible to look at, too powerful to resist

  • luring us onwards,

  • on, like a moth to a flame

  • Dwarfed by, scorched by the sun,

  • it's Mercury

  • Get too close to the sun, this is what happens

  • Temperature swing wildly here

  • At night, it's -170 degrees

  • come midday, it's 400+

  • burnt, frozen

  • and look at those scars

  • a sign that Mercury had a violent past

  • The Messenger space probe, it's telling us something strange

  • For its size, this little planet has a powerful gravitational pull

  • It must be heavier than it looks

  • It's like a huge ball of iron covered with a thin veneer of rock

  • The core of what was once much larger planet

  • Maybe a stray planet slammed into Mercury

  • blasting away its out layers in a deadly game of cosmic pinball

  • Whole planets on the loose

  • destroying anything in their path, even entire planets

  • and we are in the middle of it:

  • vulnerable, exposed, small

  • everything is telling us to turn back

  • but who could defy this

  • the sun, in all its mesmerizing splendor

  • Our light, our lives

  • Everything we do is controlled by the sun

  • depends on it

  • and more than that

  • it's the Greek god Helios driving his chariot across the sky

  • The Egyptian god Ra, reborn everyday

  • the summer solstice sun rising at Stonehenge

  • For millions of years

  • this was as close as it got to staring into the face of god

  • 150 million kilometers from home

  • a 20-year journey by plane

  • switch it off

  • and it's so far away

  • we wouldn't know about it for a whole 8 minutes

  • It's so big, you could fit a million earths inside it

  • So heavy, its gravity controls the entire solar system

  • But who needs numbers

  • we've got the real thing

  • We see it everyday

  • a familiar face in our sky

  • up close, it's unrecognizable

  • a turbulent sea of incandescent gas

  • The thermometer rises to over 5,000 degrees

  • Down in the core,

  • it's got to be tens of millions of degrees

  • Hot enough to trigger a nuclear reaction

  • turning millions of tons of matter into energy, every second

  • More than all the energy ever made by mankind

  • Back home, we see this energy as light

  • feel it as heat

  • But up close, there is nothing comforting about the sun

  • It's so full of electrical and magnetic activity

  • It's bursting out in this huge incandescent gas loops called prominences

  • Each one releasing more energy than ten million volcanos

  • You could get the earth through one of these loops

  • and still have tens of thousands of kilometers to spare

  • And when they burst through

  • it's exposing a cooler layers below

  • making sunspots

  • They're a fraction cooler than their surroundings

  • it's why they look black

  • but they are still hotter than anything on earth

  • and they are massive too

  • Some of these are at least 50,000km across

  • a solar flare

  • a superheated stream of electrified gas

  • blasting deadly radiation out into space

  • But one day, all this will stop

  • the sun's fuel will be spent

  • When it dies, that will be it for the earth as well

  • This god creates life and destroys it

  • demands we keep our distance

  • This comet has strayed too close

  • It's been boiled away by the sun's heat

  • creating a tail stretches for millions of kilometers

  • It's freezing in here

  • There's no doubt where these comets come from

  • the icy wastes of deep space

  • But look at all these steam, the geysers and dust

  • it's the sun again, melting the comet's frozen heart

  • A kind of vast dirty snowball covered in grimy tar

This is our world

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Journey To The Edge Of The Universe - National Geographic 720p.Part 1/7

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    Anbe2623 posted on 2013/08/25
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