From searching for another earth to black holes, these films will have you hooked
Who among us hasn’t gazed at the stars twinkling in the sky and wondered about the secrets of the universe?
Agencies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have sent out shuttles and spacecraft from time to time to try and unlock those secrets.
Here are four documentaries that will nurture your interest in the universe and in space studies.
For All Mankind (1989)
It is a fitting tribute to NASA’s Apollo programmes in the 1960s and 1970s. The documentary uses NASA footage of the missions and interviews with astronauts, offering the perspectives of those who made the incredible journey to the moon and back.
To make the documentary, director Al Reinert and editor Susan Korda watched over 6 million feet of footage and 80 hours of NASA interviews. The title is inspired by former US president John F. Kennedy’s historic address at Rice University on the US’s space effort. Its behind-the-scenes stories of space voyages are a bonus. Available on: YouTube
Edge of the Universe (2008)
This documentary series explains why scientists have long been exploring the universe in search of an earth-like planet. The 3-part series examines their findings and the possibility of another planet that can support life.
The series also investigates asteroids, comets and other cosmic phenomena as well as radiation dating back to the birth of the universe. Edge of the Universe will grab your attention by probing if another world like ours might be out there. Available on: Netflix
Black Holes: The Edge of all We Know (2021)
This documentary is about scientists from around the world on their quest to understand the black hole, featuring the most famous of them all -- the late Stephen Hawking. It shows a group of mathematicians attempting to solve the ‘information paradox’ and a global team trying to capture the first true image of a black hole.
Directed by Peter Galison, Black Holes also touches upon the limits of our knowledge of the universe. It is for all those who are interested in scientific theories of the beginning and eventual end of the universe. Available on: Netflix
Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2017)
Directed by David Fairhead, this 2017 documentary focuses on how the Apollo Mission Control Center helped change the course of history. With archival footage and rare interviews, it gives an authentic feel of the historic mission.
The documentary examines how an extraordinary team was built from scratch and the global conflicts at that time. It offers a glimpse of the less glamorous but essential aspects of any space expedition. Available on: Netflix