Science Night 6/13

Nature Moment of Impact: Jungle at 7 pm
When animals of astounding ability connect with each other and the world around them there is a “moment of impact.” The world is filled with these unique moments created by animals whose abilities and behaviors are incredible to behold, like the violent collision of cheetah with gazelle, the blink-of-an-eye strike of a deadly cobra and the amazing dexterity of an elephant’s trunk as it feeds, fights or reaches out with affection. But how do these creatures accomplish such extraordinary feats? Live action footage only reveals part of the answer. Using the latest technologies, HD camera lenses and computer graphics, this two-part series will take us inside the animal to present an innovative and revolutionary look at the bio-engineering of “how animals work.” The jungle’s layers are peeled back to dissect more amazing moments of impact. Stealth and ambush reign in the jungle and survival depends on highly tuned senses and ingenious defenses. From ninja ants to flying snakes, cameras dive underwater, sail through trees and penetrate fur, feathers, skin and bone to reveal the science of some amazing animal engineering hidden deep in the jungle.

Nova Crash of Flight 447 at 8 pm
On June 1, 2009, Flight AF447, an Air France Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of all 228 lives. How could a state-of-the-art airliner with elaborate electronic safety and navigation features and a faultless safety record simply vanish without a trace? NOVA assembles a team of seasoned pilots, engineers and safety experts to examine the evidence that emerged in the weeks following this horrific disaster. What led Flight 447′s crew to fly straight into a towering thunderstorm? Using expert testimony, messages transmitted by the doomed plane’s computer system and multi-layered CGI weather reconstructions, NOVA pieces together the events leading up to the disaster. With a veteran pilot at the controls of an Airbus simulator, NOVA reconstructs the final moments in the cockpit as the crisis overwhelmed Flight 447′s crew. This program provides a forensic view of crucial events seen from all angles to reveal what really happened on Flight 447.

Grove at 9 pm
More Americans have been lost to AIDS than in all the U.S. wars since 1900. And the pandemic has killed 22 million people worldwide. But few know about the existence of the National AIDS Memorial, a seven-acre grove hidden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Grove chronicles this garden’s transformation from a neglected eyesore to landscaped sanctuary to national memorial. The film shows how a community in crisis found healing and remembrance, and how the seeds of a few visionary environmentalists blossomed into something larger than they could have imagined. But as the Grove’s stakeholders seek broader public recognition through an international design competition, a battle erupts over what constitutes an appropriate memorial for the AIDS pandemic. What does it mean to be a national memorial? And how do we mark a time of unimaginable loss?