NOVA: Season 5 (1978)


Season 5

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Air date: Jan 4, 1978

"In the Event of a Catastrophe," a comparison of the civil-defense systems in the U.S. and USSR. Experts interviewed include Paul Warnke, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and Bardyl Tirana, director of the Civil Defense Preparedness Agency. They speculate on the devastating effects of a nuclear attack on population and industry. Also: newsreels of Hiroshima after the A-bombing in 1945.

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Air date: Jan 11, 1978

Time-lapse photography figures in this investigation of plant behavior. Included: the theories that plants can be coaxed to grow and can sense injury to other organisms; the process of photosynthesis; and evolution of vegetation. Ted O'Brien is the narrator of the program.

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Air date: Jan 18, 1978

A look at how the body's disease-defense mechanisms are triggered. Included: interviews with researchers from around the world. Tony Kahn is the narrator.

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Air date: Jan 25, 1978

When Neil Armstrong first stepped into the Sea of Tranquility in 1969, the NASA program was in full swing. Nova explores the history of the organization from the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Act a decade earlier to the famed walk on the moon. Alan Shepard became the first man in space with the launch of the Mercury project. From there, things moved swiftly as the Gemini project took off. Researching equipment and perfecting atmospheric entry was the program's main goal before the Apollo mission brought man to the lunar surface. Throughout its glamorous rise, NASA faced a handful of challenges, some of which still plague the scientists that make up the pioneering group. Life support, weightlessness, and equipment failure were, and are, high on the agenda. Using NASA personnel and journalists who were there, Nova gives a thorough look into this otherworldly group.

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Air date: Feb 1, 1978

"The Final Frontier," the second of two 1978 reports on space exploration, examines the potential of the space shuttle Enterprise. Also: speculation about orbital colonies. Robert Montiegal reports.

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Air date: Feb 15, 1978

Profiling the nomadic Mbuti who inhabit the rain forest of Zaire. They are seen making clothing from tree bark; building huts from saplings and leaves; stalking elephants with spears, bows and arrows, and nets; and joining with villagers in marriage and circumcision ceremonies.

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Air date: Feb 22, 1978

A docudrama about a malpractice suit filed against Dr. Denton Cooley that resulted from the implantation of an artificial heart in l969. Dr. Cooley: William Kiehl. Mrs. Karp: Jeanne Kaplan. Judge: Gil Rogers. Dr. De Bakey: Ralph Drischell. Holloway: John Clarkson.

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Air date: Mar 1, 1978

"The Great Wine Revolution," about how automation has made possible the mass production of inexpensive wines in California. Also: a visit to France shows the slower, traditional wine-making process.

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Air date: Mar 8, 1978

Claims that extraterrestrials influenced early civilizations are reviewed and challenged on "The Case of the Ancient Astronauts." Author Erich von Daniken speaks for the claims; scientists who disagree are also interviewed. Phenomena examined include carvings on a Mayan sarcophagus; geometric lines on Peru's Nazca Desert; the Great Pyramid at Giza; and an African tribe's longtime knowledge of a star first sighted in the late 1800s.

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Air date: Mar 22, 1978

"The Mind Machines," an examination of computer technology. Shown: a machine being "taught" to make medical diagnoses; a computerized wheelchair that responds to voice commands; and a self-operating NASA rover slated to someday explore Mars. Also: a look at the way computers have been depicted in Hollywood films.

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