On this week’s Exploration Wednesday:
Nature: An Original Duckumentary – 7pm
Ducks fly through the air on short stubby wings — traveling in large, energy-efficient formations over thousands of miles. There are some 150 species of them, representing a wide variety of shapes, sizes and behaviors. Some are noisy and gregarious, others shy and elusive. They are familiar animals we think we know. But most of us don’t really know these phenomenal, sophisticated creatures at all. This program follows a wood duck family as a male and female create a bond, migrate together across thousands of miles, nurture and protect a brood of chicks, then come full circle as they head to their wintering grounds.
NOVA: Ultimate Mars Challenge – 8pm
In August, a rover named Curiosity touched down inside Mars’ Gale Crater, carrying 10 new instruments that will advance the quest for signs that Mars might once have been suitable for life. But Curiosity’s mission is risky. After parachuting through the Martian atmosphere at twice the speed of sound, Curiosity was gently lowered to the planet’s surface by a “sky crane.” This first-of-its-kind system has been tested on Earth, but there was no guarantee it would work on Mars. With inside access to the massive team of scientists and engineers responsible for Curiosity’s on-the-ground experiments, NOVA was there for the exhilarating moments after Curiosity’s landing — and is there for the spectacular discoveries to come.
NOVA scienceNOW: What Will the Future Be Like? – 9pm
Mobile phones that read your mind? Video games that can cure cancer? Wearable robots that give you the strength of Ironman? David Pogue predicts which technologies will transform daily life for you — and your grandkids. These advancements are already taking shape in laboratories around the world — and gadgets that once were purely science fiction are on the verge of becoming as common as the iPhones and Androids Pogue reviews every day.