NOVA: Season 40 (2013)

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Season 40
NOVA

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 10, 2012

The secrets behind the design and construction of the Vikings' Ulfberht sword, which was made between A.D. 800-1000, are revealed by master blacksmith Ric Furrer, who reverse engineers the sturdy weapon. Experts have also wondered where the high-carbon steel used in the blade came from, given that it wasn't used elsewhere in Europe at the time. Clues unearthed from Viking graves, however, point to an answer: traders who ventured to Persia or Afghanistan.

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Air date: Oct 17, 2012

An examination of modern forensic science, which is a far cry from what's presented in crime dramas. Few established scientific standards, no central oversight, and poor regulation of examiners have led to many wrongful convictions. Of the more than 200 inmates exonerated by DNA testing since 2000, for instance, more than half were initially found guilty in part due to invalid and/or improperly utilized forensic science. Included: high-tech solutions that could put the real criminals behind bars.

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Air date: Nov 7, 2012

An examination of Easter Island, the remote island in the middle of the Pacific that is home to almost 900 giant statues known as moai. How the island, which was once a pristine paradise, devolved into a treeless wasteland is investigated, as is the manner in which the islanders moved the moai.

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Air date: Nov 14, 2012

A look at NASA's Curiosity mission to Mars. Included: remarks from Mars Science Laboratory personnel, including chief engineer Rob Manning, chief scientist John Grotzinger, deputy scientist Ashwin Vasavada, and mission manager Michael Watkins.

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Air date: Nov 18, 2012

An examination of Hurricane Sandy, its impact and the future of storm protection. Included: first-person accounts from survivors; remarks from experts and scientists.

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Air date: Jan 2, 2013

A look at the damage that could be done by three Icelandic volcanoes (Katla, Hekla and Laki) that may be ready to erupt. Each is larger than Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which caused havoc in air travel when it erupted in 2010. Scientists ponder the consequences of such an eruption not just for air travel, but for the global food supply and Earth's climate as a whole.

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Air date: Jan 9, 2013

This examinination of evidence about Neanderthals sheds light on the hominids, which died off some 30,000 years ago. Included: geneticist Svante Pääbo's 2010 reconstruction of the Neanderthal genome, which posits that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred at some point in the distant past.

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Air date: Jan 23, 2013

In this installment, NOVA investigates the technologies behind drone aircraft. The planes can be as large as a jumbo jet or as small as a bird, and can kill enemy combatants. Included: remarks from Abe Karem, who was instrumental in the development of the Predator aircraft, and those who operate drones for the U.S. military.

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Air date: Jan 30, 2013

The 1932 kidnapping and killing of Charles Lindbergh's 20-month-old son is revisited. Investigators employ forensic and behavioral science techniques in an effort to learn what happened to the baby--and why.

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Air date: Feb 6, 2013

Experts build and test two replicas of ancient Egyptian chariots to learn whether, as some historians claim, the chariot revolutionized warfare and enabled Egypt's greatest era of conquest, the New Kingdom.

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