Introduction and Review (02:09)
The introduction to Episode 2 includes a short review of the previous episode and promises to use examples from the present to demonstrate the formation of the universe and its relationship with Earth.
The Big Bang (04:42)
A planetary engineer "builds" an imaginary universe, going back 13.8 billion years. The rapid expansion of a bubble of space with no single point of origin occurred everywhere and all at once. Clouds of hydrogen, like countless air balloons expand outward.
Star Formation (04:54)
Scientists at the J.E.T. Reactor near Oxford, Britain, undertake star formation out of hydrogen in a robot- built radioactive chamber. Prof. Steve Cowley explains the process to create fusion reactions that make helium and all the other elements.
The stars are element factories that make all the elements and spew them out when the star explodes in a supernova. These elements in a cloud of dust, the nebula, makes other stars, like our Sun.
The Sun and Jupiter (04:55)
The imaginary engineer will form planets from the dust remaining after the formation of the Sun, but as Jupiter attracted more dust, it grew and fell closer to the Sun. Prof. Philipanko uses a fresnel lens to show how sunlight evaporated away enough of Jupiter's gases to stop it from gobbling all the dust.
How to Place Planets in a Solar System (02:50)
The Texas Roller Derby demonstrates how the protoplanets, planetesimals, orbited around the sun, colliding and affecting their gravity. Smaller planets orbited closer to the Sun, larger ones in outer orbits, and the debris formed the asteroid belt.
The Solar System (02:18)
The imaginary engineer has his solar system: Mercury whose atmosphere burned away; Venus with a reversed spin; Mars and its volcano, Olympus Mons; Jupiter and the asteroid belt; Saturn with its rings; Uranus and its 21 year summer; Neptune with hurricane winds; and life-supporting Earth.
What Do We Need for Life in a Solar System? (07:11)
Scientists examine a toxic pond two miles deep in the Frasassi cave system in Italy to search for signs of life in conditions without light or oxygen. They find bacteria living only on rock and liquid water, the essentials for life.
Mars Exploration (05:53)
NASA builds robots and exploration vehicles like the Mars Rover for space exploration. A prototype space suit keeps the low atmospheric pressure on Mars from boiling the water in the human body.
Habitable Zone (03:05)
Planet size affects the gravity needed to trap an atmosphere and its corresponding pressure. The narrow limits of planet size, atmospheric pressure, and liquid water require planetary placement in the habitable zone.
Galaxies and the Universe (03:12)
Review the construction of the imaginary solar system as the engineer prepares to make a galaxy like ours with its black hole center. Unique galaxies populate the universe, but they would fly apart unless something holds them together.
Dark Matter Web that Holds Together the Universe (08:26)
The imaginary engineer uses dark matter that makes up most of the universe in a web to hold together the galaxies. Scientists at the Sanford Underground Labs in South Dakota have built a particle detector for dark matter, so far undetectable except by its gravitational pull on galaxies.
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