Thanks to modern technology, we know more about the universe now than we have at any other point in history. Despite that, however, there’s so much that we still don’t know about the mysteries and wonders of outer space and everything that exists in it. One of the best ways to educate yourself on all things space is to watch some meaningful documentaries on the subject.
Here, we have presented some of the most iconic documentaries made about the cosmos that give us great insight into understanding what exists beyond Earth. Take a look at them and expand your knowledge of the vast and never-ending marvels of the universe.
You might have seen a number of documentaries about the first moon mission. However, "Apollo 11" is different. It is a cinematic event film that has been fifty years in the making and features digitally remastered never-before-seen archival footage along with over 11,000 hours of audio recordings. Director Todd Douglas Miller’s film recounts man’s journey to the moon through the eyes of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and the team at NASA. Seeing all the archival footage in crystal clear quality is indeed the highlight of the documentary that gives viewers a newer and better understanding of this iconic moment in human history.
Watching Apollo 11 will make you feel the tension and excitement that people would have felt during the real mission in 1969.
Carl Sagan's "Cosmos” is widely regarded as the mother of all space documentaries. It is as close as you can get to the perfect documentary series on space exploration and understating the cosmos. Almost 40 years after it first aired, this cosmic travel guide still manages to enlighten, entertain, and educate us while also inspiring awe. Hosted and narrated by the late Carl Sagan, Cosmos shouldn’t be missed by anyone who has even a mild interest in the mysteries of outer space.
The 13 one-hour episodes of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage has been re-released, digitally remastered, in 2009, and makes for an even better viewing experience now. Sure, the music might seem somewhat corny to some now, but the information presented in each of the episodes is still valuable and the series works brilliantly as an engaging guided tour of the universe.
"This oak tree and me - we're made of the same stuff… Any tree could read my genetic code. Why are we cousins?" says Sagan in one of the episodes while standing beneath a tree. Wonders like these that are beautifully explored in Cosmos need to be savored even today.
A documentary featuring the great Stephen Hawking helping us understand space better can't go wrong, can it? That does stand true for “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking” where the late scientist reveals the wonders of the cosmos in two incredible hours.
Released in 2010, the documentary mini-series focuses on the splendor and majesty of the universe with amazing graphics and brilliant explanations from the theoretical physicist and cosmologist. Into the Universe isn’t just about planets and the universe, it also features aliens, time travel, and the story of everything.
More than anything else, however, it also allows you to delve into the mind of Stephen Hawking and understand his perspective on these subjects much better. Watching this show is like the best and most interesting physics class you've ever had!
"How the Universe Works" is like the perfect space guide for the common man. The long-running documentary show has had more than 70 episodes already where it has covered interesting subjects like black holes and dark matter along with the puzzles of the galaxies, stars, planets, and moons, and presented them in a way that doesn’t feel too confusing or complex.
The series features commentary from plenty of prominent experts in the field, including theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, and is narrated brilliantly by Mike Rowe. When it comes to bingeable science documentary series, you cannot get a better option than How the Universe Works.
In 1961, American President John F. Kennedy pledged to put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. However, during that time, no rocket existed with the power or capacity to accomplish this feat. This is where the Saturn V, the American super heavy-lift launch vehicle, came into being. “The Saturn V Story” is a fascinating documentary on the rocket that was used by NASA between 1967 and 1973 and helped catapult the Apollo program to greater heights.
The 52-minute documentary is the incredible story of the most powerful machine ever built and the men and women behind its success. With spectacular visual effects, expert interviews, and rare NASA footage, The Saturn V Story gives us a genuinely riveting and inspirational film that delves real deep into an important chapter of history that gave wings to the dream of human exploration in space.
We all know that the first man to set foot on the moon was Neil Armstrong, but can you tell us who was the last man to do so? “The Last Man on the Moon” is a 2014 documentary focused on the story of Eugene Cernan, the Apollo astronaut who still remains the last man to have stepped off the moon. Cernan, who passed away in 2017, shares his epic and personal story of love, loss, and fulfillment in this engaging film.
We get to know all about Cernan’s journey and what exactly happened on his historic expedition in December 1972. You also get to hear about the famous incident where the astronaut wrote his daughter’s initials and left his footprints in the lunar dust. The Last Man on the Moon is a unique and compelling documentary and that stands out as incredibly human and relatable.
This film and its message is important and will leave the viewer feeling inspired by both Gene's words and his experiences. "I walked on the moon," he says at the end of the film, "what can't you do?"
Hosted by actor Will Smith, the “One Strange Rock” docu-series brings forth the extraordinary story of Earth through the views of eight noted astronauts. Engrossing interviews reveal the views of astronauts about life on Earth from the perspective of being away from it while in outer space. These remarkable men and women show us how different our home planet looks from up in space and how little we know about it.
One Strange Rock will make you understand the story of Earth a little better and appreciate its uniqueness and all of its complexities. It is visually stunning and thrilling with an excellent and meaningful narrative that is sure to get you thinking long after you are done with the film.
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