At the Edge of Space takes viewers on a spectacular exploration to probe the earth-space boundary zone, home to some of nature’s most puzzling and alluring phenomena: the shimmering aurora, streaking meteors, and fleeting flashes that shoot upwards from thunderclouds, known as sprites. Discovered in 1989, sprites have eluded capture because they flicker into existence for a mere split-second — 40 times faster than an eye blink. NOVA rides with scientists in a high-flying weather observation plane as they hunt for sprites and finally succeed in snaring them in 3D video, gaining vital clues to unravel their mystery. NOVA also combines advanced video technology with stunning sequences shot from the International Space Station.
From the width of a football field to the size of a small city, these space rocks have the potential to be killers. In a collision with Earth, they could set off deadly blast waves, raging fires and colossal tidal waves. But some audacious entrepreneurs look at asteroids and see payday, not doomsday. Some asteroids are loaded with billions of dollars’ worth of ele¬ments like iron, nickel and even platinum. While NASA plans an ambitious mission to return samples from a potentially hazardous asteroid, would-be asteroid miners are dreaming up their own program to scout for poten¬tially profitable asteroids. Will asteroids turn out to be our economic salvation — or instruments of extinction?