Science Night 5/23

Nature “Salmon: Running The Gauntlet” at 7 pm
This film investigates the parallel stories of collapsing Pacific salmon populations and how biologists and engineers engage in audacious experiments to shore up their numbers. Each of our efforts to save salmon has involved replacing their natural cycle of reproduction and death with a radically manipulated life history. Our once great runs of salmon are now conceived in laboratories, raised in tanks, driven in trucks and farmed in pens. The program goes beyond the ongoing debate over how to save an endangered species. In its exposure of a wildly creative, hopelessly complex and stunningly expensive approach to managing salmon, the film explores possible paths to salmon recovery.

NOVA “Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor” at 8 pm
NOVA joins an exclusive dive beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor to trace new clues to the historic sinking of the USS Arizona. 1,177 crew members perished in the dramatic 1941 sinking of the storied battleship-the greatest loss of life in United States naval history. For decades, it has been thought that the Arizona was brought down by fire from Japanese aircraft. But the discovery of a Japanese “midget sub” displaced from the scene of the battle raises new questions about the Arizona’s final hours. Severed into three pieces and dropped in 1,200-foot deep water outside of the harbor, the sub matches four other experimental vessels discovered in shallower water closer to the harbor entrance. All were equipped with a pair of torpedoes-but only the torpedoes of the fifth sub are still missing, apparently fired at an unknown target. What was the submarine’s mission? Why was it laid to rest so far from the harbor? What was the fate of its two-man crew? With unprecedented access to the Arizona wreckage, NOVA teams up with the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab to use manned deep submersibles in an attempt to resurrect the fifth midget submarine.

NOVA “Missing in MiG Alley” at 9 pm
Russian and American fighters clashed over Korea in one of the fastest dogfights ever seen. This was the world’s first jet war, pitting the two most advanced planes of their day, the American F-86 Sabre and the Soviet MiG-15, in furious air battles that pushed their pilots’ skills to the limit. The epicenter of the air campaign was MiG Alley, a strip of airspace between the Korean-Chinese border. Flying higher and faster than ever before, American and British pilots had little idea of the hidden dangers that awaited them if they were shot down. Thirty-one Sabre pilots are believed to have survived crash landings, and the evidence suggests that a few of the pilots were captured and secretly imprisoned in Russia. In “Missing in MiG Alley,” NOVA follows the poignant and sometimes harrowing efforts of family members to trace what happened to pilots who went missing over half a century ago. The program combines forensic detective work with an in-depth look at why the Sabre and the MiG acquired their reputations as legendary fighting machines. With the help of dramatic reconstructions, rare archival footage and interviews with veteran aces, NOVA puts viewers in the cockpit to experience the lethal split-second duels in the skies over MiG Alley.