Asteroids have been objects of fascination for mankind for ages. They have been the focus of any number of disaster movies. And they have been the center of discussion for just as many scientists throughout the years. Now thanks to PBS’ NOVA, audiences have been presented with what is the most straight forward and honest look at the good and bad of asteroids in NOVA: Asteroid – Doomsday or Payday? This episode of NOVA is well worth the watch first and foremost because as the episode’s title infers, it is balanced in its examination of asteroids. By direct relation, the organization of the near hour-long program makes it just as enjoyable for audiences. Making everything complete in this episode of NOVA are the visual aids used to help illustrate the discussion. All three of these factors each play their own role in the success of the program. Together, they continue to prove why NOVA continues to stand tall as television’s best science-based program to this day.
The first and most important aspect of NOVA: Asteroid – Doomsday or Payday? that plays into its success is the fact that it is balanced in its examination of the good and bad of asteroids. It doesn’t try to be like all of the over-the-top documentaries churned out by History Channel and Discovery Channel or even any of the excessively over the top movies and made-for-TV movies about asteroids that have ever been created. It specifically examines the dangers of asteroids as well as their potential benefits to humans. It even takes time near the program’s end to explain how the potential benefits of asteroids could even play a role in being able to deflect them from Earth’s orbital path. It does all of this without any overly sensationalized writing to try and make it “sexy” for viewers for lack of better wording. Even better about the writing is that not only does it not try to be “sexy”, it is also not above the heads of average viewers. That ease of accessibility for viewers is just the starting point to the success of this episode of NOVA.
The balanced writing in NOVA: Asteroid – Doomsday or Payday? is central to the success of this episode of PBS’ hit science series. By direct relation, the program’s organization makes it just as enjoyable. The program starts off by explaining the history of the relationship of sorts between Earth and the asteroids that have both hit and come close to hitting the planet. From there, it goes on to explain the modern methods used to track asteroids and even the possible future of tracking and stopping them; especially the ones that have previously eluded detection by Earth’s many satellites and observatories. The general progression takes viewers into the most discussed theories as to how to keep asteroids from potentially hitting Earth. It all winds up with a discussion on how mankind could potentially mine asteroids for their water and mineral wealth all while diverting them from a path that would otherwise intersect with Earth. Each segment clearly progresses from the last. This keeps audiences fully engaged throughout the course of the episode’s near hour-long run time. That maintained engagement also leads viewers to note one more positive to this presentation. That positive is the collective visual aids used throughout the feature.
The balanced writing and equally balanced segmentation of this episode of NOVA work in unison to show once more why NOVA continues to stand tall as the best pure science-based program on television today. There is one more aspect of this episode that should be taken into account in the overall success of this episode of course. That aspect is the collective visual aids used to help illustrate each discussion. Whereas certain other commercial-based shows that try to call themselves science-based programming use over the top slow motion graphics and computer generated simulations, NOVA has a long-standing tradition of being as minimalist as possible in the use of such elements. This episode of NOVA is no different. Audiences are presented with CG based video of possible devices that could be used to potentially mine asteroids. It also shows through unadorned high speed footage, a demonstration by a NASA scientist of the effect of both trying to destroy asteroids and nudge an asteroid. There were no extra bows and whistles. The gentleman in question, aided by an assistant, recorded two different scale models of an asteroid being hit by two different size objects. Simply put, the visual aids used in this episode were used sparingly like a fine spice. They were tossed in just enough to keep viewers engaged, just as with the episode’s writing and organization. Each of the factors noted here are integral pieces of the whole that make this episode of NOVA well worth the watch. There are even more factors that audiences will themselves enjoy when they order this DVD for themselves. It can be ordered online now direct from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=24977516&cp=&kw=asteroid+doomsday+or+payday&origkw=Asteroid+Doomsday+or+Payday&sr=1.
Audiences can find out more about NOVA: Asteroid – Doomsday or Payday? and other episodes of NOVA online at http://www.facebook.com/NOVAonline and http://www.pbs.org.nova. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.