Cosmos – A Personal Voyage (13 parts)

The late Dr. Sagan’s series is far more than a guided tour through “billions and billions” of stars and galaxies. It remains a profound plea for the unity of humankind, for the recognition that “we are a way for the universe to know itself,” with an obligation to know our origin, our place in the universe, and our future potential.

What’s most remarkable about Cosmos is that it remains almost entirely fresh, with few updates needed to the science that Sagan so passionately celebrates. It is no exaggeration to say that Cosmos–for all the debate it may continue to provoke–is a vital document for humanity at a pivotal crossroads of our history.

01 The Shores Of The Cosmic Ocean
01 The Shores Of The Cosmic Ocean
Carl Sagan opens the program with a description of the cosmos and a “Spaceship of the Imagination”. The ship journeys through the universe’s hundred billion galaxies, the Local Group, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, our Solar System, and finally the planet Earth.

Eratosthenes’ successful calculation of the circumference of Earth leads to a description of the ancient Library of Alexandria. Finally, the “Ages of Science” are described, before pulling back to the full span of the Cosmic Calendar.
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02 One Voice In The Cosmic Fugue
02 One Voice In The Cosmic Fugue
Sagan discusses the story of the Heike crab and artificial selection of crabs resembling samurai warriors, as an opening into a larger discussion of evolution through natural selection.

Among the topics are the development of life on the Cosmic Calendar and the Cambrian explosion; the function of DNA in growth; genetic replication, repairs, and mutation; the common biochemistry of terrestrial organisms; the creation of the molecules of life in the Miller-Urey experiment; and speculation on alien life.
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03 Harmony Of The Worlds
03 Harmony Of The Worlds
Beginning with the separation of the fuzzy thinking and pious fraud of astrology from the careful observations of astronomy, Sagan follows the development of astronomical observation. Beginning with constellations and ceremonial calendars, the story moves to the debate between Earth and Sun-centered models: Ptolemy and the geocentric worldview, Copernicus’ theory, the data-gathering of Tycho Brahe, and the achievements of Johannes Kepler.
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04 Heaven & Hell
04 Heaven & Hell
Sagan discusses comets and asteroids as planetary impactors, giving recent examples of the Tunguska event and a lunar impact described by Canterbury monks in 1178. It moves to a description of the environment of Venus, from the previous fantastic theories of people such as Immanuel Velikovsky to the information gained by the Venera landers and its implications for Earth’s greenhouse effect.
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05 Blues For A Red Planet
05 Blues For A Red Planet
The episode, devoted to the planet Mars, begins with scientific and fictional speculation about the Red Planet during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It then moves to Robert Goddard’s early experiments in rocket-building, inspired by reading science fiction, and the work by Mars probes, including the Viking, searching for life on Mars.
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06 Travellers’ Tales
06 Travellers' Tales
The journeys of the Voyager probes is put in the context of the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, with a centuries-long tradition of sailing ship explorers, and its contemporary thinkers. Their discoveries are compared to the Voyager probes’ discoveries among the Jovian and Saturn systems.
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07 The Backbone Of Night
07 The Backbone Of Night
Carl Sagan teaches students in a classroom in his childhood home in Brooklyn, New York, which leads into a history of the different mythologies about stars and the gradual revelation of their true nature. In ancient Greece, some philosophers freely pursue scientific knowledge, while others advocate slavery and epistemic secrecy.
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08 Journeys In Space & Time
08 Journeys In Space & Time
Ideas about time and space are explored in the changes that constellations undergo over time, the redshift and blue shift measured in interstellar objects, time dilation in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, the designs of both Leonardo da Vinci and spacecraft that could travel near light speed, time travel and its hypothetical effects on human history, the origins of the Solar System, the history of life, and the immensity of space.
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09 The Lives Of The Stars
09 The Lives Of The Stars
The simple act of making an apple pie is extrapolated into the atoms and subatomic particles necessary. Many of the ingredients necessary are formed of chemical elements formed in the life and deaths of stars, resulting in massive red giants and supernovae or collapsing into white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, and even black holes. These produce all sorts of phenomena, such as radioactivity, cosmic rays, and even the curving of spacetime by gravity.
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10 The Edge Of Forever
10 The Edge Of Forever
Beginning with the origins of the universe in the Big Bang, Sagan describes the formation of different types of galaxies and anomalies such as galactic collisions and quasars. Then it moves further into ideas such as different dimensions, an infinite vs. a finite universe, and the idea of an oscillating Universe. The search into other ideas such as dark matter and the multiverse is shown, using tools such as the Very Large Array in New Mexico.
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11 The Persistence Of Memory
11 The Persistence Of Memory
The idea of intelligence is explored in the concepts of computers (using bits as their basic units of information), whales in their songs, DNA, the human brain, and man-made structures for collective intelligence.
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12 Encyclopaedia Galactica
12 Encyclopaedia Galactica
Questions are raised about the search for intelligent life beyond the Earth, with UFOs and other close encounters refuted in favor of communications through SETI and radio telescope such as the Arecibo Observatory.

The probability of technically advanced civilizations existing elsewhere in the Milky Way is interpreted using the Drake equation and a future hypothetical Encyclopedia Galactica is discussed as a repository of information about other worlds in the galaxy.
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13 Who Speaks For Earth
13 Who Speaks For Earth
Sagan reflects on the future of humanity and the question of “who speaks for Earth?” when meeting extraterrestrials. He discusses the very different meetings of the Tlingit people and explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse with the destruction of the Aztecs by Spanish conquistadors, the looming threat of nuclear warfare, and the threats shown by destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the murder of Hypatia.

The episode ends with an overview of the beginning of the universe, the evolution of life, and the accomplishments of humanity and makes a plea to mankind to cherish life and continue its journey in the cosmos.
Free download: Mediafire

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