Visioneer: The Story of Peter Diamandis
Behind the $10 Million Space Travel X Prize

Visioneer: The Story of Peter Diamandis - Behind the $10 Million Space Travel X Prize
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Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday?
Part of the Series: NOVA
The asteroid that exploded over Siberia--injuring more than 1,000 and damaging buildings in six cities--was a shocking reminder that Earth is a target in a cosmic shooting range. From the width of a football field to the size of a small city, these space rocks have the potential to be…
Star Catalogs from around the World
The genius of Greek astronomy is epitomized by the star catalogs of Hipparchus and Ptolemy. Professor Schaefer recounts his exciting discovery of a star chart apparently influenced by Hipparchus's lost catalog. Close by comparing Greek star catalogs with those of China and the Arab world.
How Ancient Astronomy Ended
Review the state of astronomy in 1500. Then chart the revolution sparked by Copernicus's heliocentric theory of the Sun and planets. Learn how Copernicus was the last of the ancient astronomers, succeeded by the founders of modern science, including Tycho, Kepler, and Galileo.
Ancient Astronomy and Modern Astrophysics
Finish the course by seeing how ancient records of eclipses and supernova explosions have refined our modern understanding of Earth-Moon dynamics and stellar processes - proving that today's cutting-edge astrophysicists owe a great debt to astronomers who watched the skies long ago.
The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy
Taught by Professor Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University, this course shows how ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Indians, Chinese, and other cultures saw the sky. You learn how the Sun, Moon, and stars were their clock, calendar, and compass; constellations encoded their mythologies; and the heavens inspired religious and philosophical ideas,…
Stonehenge and Archaeoastronomy
Why were the motions of the Sun, Moon, and stars so important to ancient people? Investigate key astronomical directions noticed by all cultures. Then embark on your study of Stonehenge, seeing how it gave birth to the field of archaeoastronomy and to some very curious modern theories.
The Real Stonehenge
In the popular mind, Stonehenge was built as a sophisticated astronomical calculator presided over by priestly astronomers called Druids. But is this view dating from the mid-1960s correct? Address the evidence, and survey the archaeological record to discover the most probable function of Stonehenge.
Alignments at Maes Howe and Newgrange
Explore Neolithic tombs and monuments across Europe, discovering an array of alignments toward astronomical events. Start with two sites that are similar to Stonehenge in their clear orientation to the winter solstice: Maes Howe in the Orkney Islands, and Newgrange in Ireland.
Astronomy of Egypt's Great Pyramid
Study the astronomical significance of Egypt's Great Pyramid. How did its builders achieve such phenomenal accuracy in the pyramid's alignment to the cardinal directions? Were its air shafts intended to point at stars of special importance? Also evaluate modern claims for the mystical power of pyramids.
Chaco Canyon and Anasazi Astronomy
Travel to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, where the Anasazi culture practiced sky-centered rituals a thousand years ago. Look for evidence of their astronomical knowledge, examine their many "sun daggers," and probe the controversial pictograph thought to depict the Crab Nebula supernova explosion in 1054 AD.
Ancient Cosmologies and Worldviews
Consider the astronomy-based world views of different ancient cultures and how they answered the three big questions: Where did the world come from? What is the nature of the universe? What is its fate? Survey the beliefs of the Greeks, Chinese, Australian aborigines, and other groups, seeking common elements.
Meteorite Worship and Start of the Iron Age
Witnessing a meteor fall must have been a strange and awe-inspiring experience for people long ago. Travel around the world to places where meteorites were worshiped and also used as a source of iron, which was rarer than gold before the smelting technology of the Iron Age.