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Behind the Scenes

30 Jul

Secret Space Escapes

What’s it like to leave earth to explore the unknown? How does it feel to be in space? What happens when you’re in space and something goes terribly wrong? Science Channel’s SECRET SPACE ESCAPES reveals terrifying accidents, fights for survival, and stories of close calls and near misses by the astronauts who survived them. This all-new series offers chilling accounts of the challenges of space exploration as told only by the explorers who lived them and the men and women in mission control who helped each team avert disaster. SECRET SPACE ESCAPES premieres on Science Channel Nov. 10 at 10 PM.

Recounting missions as recent as 2013, SECRET SPACE ESCAPES will draw viewers into the emotional experience of space exploration. Through first-hand accounts by the astronauts who relied upon science, training, colleagues on earth and, most importantly, their wits, in order to survive launches, space walks, landings, collisions, outages and other dangerous situations that occurred during their missions.  This is the first time that these near-disasters-turned-triumphs have been told solely from the point of view of the men and women who problem-solved each event – there is no narration in the series, and the stories unfold solely in the words of the people who were there. S98e5276

“The personal stories of the astronauts in SECRET SPACE ESCAPES have never been seen like this before on television,” said Rita Mullin, General Manager of Science Channel.   “These men and women have pushed space exploration forward with each mission, and their stories will haunt, entertain, educate and inspire.”

Featuring rare and never before seen footage, the astronauts and stories featured in SECRET SPACE ESCAPES will include:

  • Robert Curbeam and Thomas Jones trained for years to install a new American module on the International Space Station (ISS). During their long-anticipated spacewalk, a valve malfunctions and toxic ammonia flakes from the cooling system pour all over Curbeam. He struggles desperately to stop the leak before the vital cooling system fails. Covered like a snowman with ammonia flakes, Curbeam cannot risk re-entering the spacecraft, where the toxic ammonia could sicken or blind the crew. His only option is to stay outside, zooming at 17,000 miles per hour, 225 miles above the earth, and wait for the sun to melt away the contaminants.
  • When a new solar panel on the ISS tears, Scott Parazynski ventures out on a 90-foot arm to make improvised repairs. The solar panels carry enough voltage to fry Dr. Parazynski in his oxygen-filled suit -- but if he fails in his task, the ISS is doomed.
  • In 1997, Mike Foale is on an extended mission aboard the Russian Mir space station when it is struck by a resupply vessel. The station springs a leak, losing power rapidly and launching into an out of control spin. Under extreme pressure, Foale makes an ad hoc calculation using the position of the stars to determine the speed and direction of the spin. He and his Russian colleagues Vasily Tsibliyev and Aleksandr “Sasha” Lazutkin are able to use the rockets inside the attached Soyuz capsule to stop the roll, save the ship -- and their lives.
  • Hoot Gibson and Mike Mullane are on the second shuttle to launch after the Challenger disaster. It’s 1986 and STS-27 is a classified mission to launch a spy satellite. During liftoff, a video of the launch reveals a fragment of the booster rocket’s insulation breaking off and striking the underbelly of the space shuttle, Atlantis, damaging many of the protective heat shield tiles that leave parts of the shuttle exposed to 5,000 degree heat upon re-entry. Gibson thinks he’s going to die and Mullane suspects they may be facing certain disaster. They have no alternatives – there are no stations to dock to, there is no time to send another Shuttle to aid them and no way to conduct a spacewalk to fix the issue. Miraculously, even with vulnerable unshielded spots on her, Atlantis withstands the heat of reentry because a steel plate just happens to protect the aluminum hull where it is most exposed.
  • In 1969, the Soyuz 5 capsule tumbles to earth in a fireball because a malfunction does not jettison an extra equipment module. It’s like a car dragging a U-Haul trailer. When the capsule finally rights itself and the extra modules are jettisoned, its parachutes only partially deploy and the rockets that aid a soft landing barely function. Cosmonaut Boris Volynov lands way off target. Covered in blood from his broken teeth sustained in the crash landing, he manages to climb out of the wreckage and find his way to the door of a very surprised peasant.

SECRET SPACE ESCAPES is produced for Science Channel by ITV Studios America where Vincent Kralyevich and Patrice Andrews serve as executive producers. For Science Channel Neil Laird and Rocky Collins serve as executive producers and Lindsey Foster Blumberg is producer. Bernadette McDaid is vice president of production for Science Channel.

14 Apr

3D Printed Shelby Cobra Is A Stunner

Imagine a world where you could order every detail you ever wanted from a car online and have it 3D printed to your specifications. Or, where once very rare cars are replicated via 3D printing for a new generation.

The 3D printed car is here. The first model, the Strati was a little rough around the edges, but it didn’t take long for the developers to raise the bar and re-create a 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 in honor of its 50th anniversary this January. The printed Cobra was definitely finished to be a stunner.

The car is a collaboration of many companies. The 3D chassis and electric motor came courtesy of the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). They used their Big Area Additive Manufacturing printer, which can print single pieces in sizes greater than one cubic meter – and in this case they used a composite that included 20 percent carbon fiber.

The 3D-Printed Cobra took just six weeks to complete, though the printing itself only took about 24 hours. The signature Cobra sleek blue and white finish was the work of Knoxville, Tennessee-based company Tru-Design that specializes in carbon fiber and fiberglass.


With such a gorgeous and speedy end result it’s easy to see what ORNL is trying to innovate. The idea is that with 3D printing the manufacturing process can be done on a large and rapid scale. The 3D-Cobra is proof that something as large as a car, needing both style and durability can be created with 3D printers and may one day change the automotive industry and perhaps have an impact on the environment.

The team that worked on the car has dubbed it a “laboratory on wheels.”

As the ORNL team works to take the process of 3D printed cars to the next level, the shift could change many things – concept cars could more easily come to fruition. Rare models could be replicated. Even better, your daily ride could be customized to you. It’s an interesting future to contemplate.

If you live or are visiting in the Washington DC area now, you can see the 3D Shelby in the lobby of the Department of Energy. You can follow its progress on Twitter via #3DPrintedCar.

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Department of Energy




9 Apr

Unique Problem Solvers

Sometimes HOW IT’S MADE covers some pretty unique items. They range from the often every day item that makes our life easier, to the out of this world items that fascinate us. The of items all do one thing – solve some of life’s problems.

Humans have always faced problems, but from the start we figured out ways around them. In the beginning, our most immediate problems were finding food and shelter, and thus manufacturing began. Creating flint arrows and stone axes were the solution, and clusters of humanity began the refining the quality and speed with which the items were made.

As humankind has progressed, so have the incredible challenges and needs we’ve faced. How do we build villages and communities? How do we create more food to feed the population? How do we create items that signify value of things we possess? The answer is simple – look for the basic tools and resources around you and then build upon them to make them fit the ever-changing needs of society. The inspiration to create has always been there, but in the early days the scale of mass manufacturing was simply not possible.

With the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700’s it slowly became possible to move from creating bespoke items that met our needs to producing on a grand scale. The invention of the steam engine and eventually harnessing electricity allowed for us to create massive factories and to move the products and resources around in a way that changed our lives forever. The bigger problem of how do you actually make the things that make our lives better was finally able to go wide.

If you’ve grown up in the 20th century you have the confidence of having most products that solve your problems at your fingertips. Hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, cell phones, ATMs, Wi-Fi – they are all things we take for granted and yet we shouldn’t forget that these great ideas needed to be perfected and executed to make it into our homes. We’ve come a long way from the manufacturing technology of the 1700’s; we have robotic production lines, computers, advanced equipment, easier access to resources, and advanced transportation that are entirely focused on the logistics of making things and making them for the masses.

In this world we have the luxury of looking a little problem like “How can I avoiding hauling my heavy luggage through the airport?” and solutions like rolling luggage is invented and now produced on a mass level. We have the ability to take problems like how to create energy when our primary sources go down? Stand-by generators are now a given in places like hospitals where loss of electricity could literally be life or death for patients. And there are the problems we never thought we’d face, like “How do you write in zero gravity where the ink can’t flow? Even in 1920, the idea of going to space, much less living in it was a fantasy and yet humans have advanced and adapted to make their ideas happen, and on a big scale.

Around here at Science Channel we love seeing behind that curtain of how items are made, parts upon parts, pieced together to make something we take for granted or can’t live without. We can look back to the foundation of how items are made into the future as makers, manufacturers and big ideas keep creating amazing items that take us to the next level.

Who among us wouldn’t want to know how a bionic arm is made? Or space planes? Or 3-D printed cars? These lists of challenges we have to overcome will never end, nor will the process and logistics of making items. We can’t wait to see technology advance and future play out in HOW IT'S MADE!

HOW IT'S MADE airs Thursdays, 9p.

1 Apr

Introducing Math Channel, Coming To A TV Screen Near You On April 31

Prep your parabolas, ready your ratios and start thinking about symmetry...

The brains behind the Science Channel are pleased to announce our new sister network, Math Channel, coming to a television screen near you on April 31.

Answer Everything.

28 Mar

'Star Wars' Behind-the-Scenes Photos Make Friday More Fun

It's Friday. It's spring. We've all earned a little levity.

Ever since Star Wars joined Instagram with a Darth Vader selfie back in December 2013, the franchise has been populating its page with a plethora of behind-the-scenes photos.

From a 'Han-some' Han Solo

to some sibling bonding

and C-3PO out of costume,

Star Wars has made us smile on Instagram since day one.

We even got a look at Indiana, George Lucas' dog and the inspiration for Chewbacca

and discovered that Darth Vader's helmet isn't nearly so scary without the imposing voice behind it.

Meet Darth Vader's stunt double:

So sweet.


Does this inspire you to build a lightsaber? Check it out:

For more Star Wars fun, watch all of your favorite characters kick up their heels to Pharrell's "Happy" over on SCI2.

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook.

10 Mar

Behind-The-Scenes At SXSW: What Really Happened At I F---ing Love Science Channel

If you didn't make it to SXSW Interactive this year or you attended SXSW but didn't come to the I F---ing Love Science Channel party (and why not?!), don't worry. We've got you covered with some of our favorite photos from the night so that even if you weren't there, you can pretend you were a VIP guest.

Basically, we are all now best friends with Bill Nye.

(Oh, and in case you missed our HUGE new show news, check it out here.)

Presenting I F---ing Love Science Channel: The Recap.


The gang's all here: Kari Byron, Elise Andrew, Bill Nye, Eugene Mirman, Hakeem Oluseyi and Tory Belleci


Kari tests liquid nitrogen before the show

We can all agree that "the Elvis of Science" is the perfect nickname for Bill Nye, right?

And, in case you missed the exclusive new show news:

More on that here!

If you attended I F---ing Love Science Channel, we'd love to hear about your experience!

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

10 Mar

You Love Science. We Love Science. I F---ing Love Science Is For All Of Us.

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Science Channel broke huge news at SXSW this weekend:

It's true! We're teaming up with Elise Andrew of I F---ing Love Science to turn the popular IFLS Facebook page and website into a TV series.

You know who else f---ing loves science? The Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, who will be an executive producer on the show. Here's how he announced the HUGE news:

If you know anything about me, you know I love science. Science has a naughty secret — it’s that all things are connected. And this show is going to explore the randomness of science. Think of it as a late night Google search that goes a hundred pages deep until things get weird — and then you just keep going. And there is no better partner for this kind of smart entertainment like Science Channel and Elise.

No word on whether Geoff will make an appearance on the series.

So what can you expect?

"I F—ing Love Science follows one inalienable truth — that jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, science is present in everything. In each 60 minute episode, the show attempts to prove a grand, outlandish thesis that will take the viewer on twists and turns through the big and small of all things science. Each hour will delve into a bevy of unexpected but related topics, meeting celebrities, scientists, and everyday people – each of whom f-ing love science."

Andrew will be a consulting producer on the hour-long show, scheduled to debut later this year. What started two years ago as a fun hobby for Andrew is now a Facebook page with 10.6 million fans and a social following reaching 50 million people a week.

IFLS isn't the first social media sensation to transition to TV. Lil Bub has her own talk show and William Shatner starred in short-lived series $h*! My Dad Says, based on a Twitter account of the same (but unbleeped) name.

Stay tuned for more news as the show gets underway. In the meantime, check out another Science Channel project to which Andrew is a contributor: SCI2.

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

5 Jul

Terra Nova's Stephen Lang is Hilarious in These All New Videos

For those of you who haven't heard, Terra Nova is coming to Science Channel for an all-day marathon on Sunday, July 7 starting at 10am. The series was produced by Stephen Spielberg and is the most expensive show ever made. To help us get the word out, our marketing team spent some time with actor and writer Stephen Lang to create some promotional videos. 

Most people think of Stephen Lang as the serious military man, like his role as Cmdr. Taylor on Terra Nova or Col. Miles Quaritch in the movie Avatar. But the truth is, he's actually hilarious! Don't believe it? Check out this mashup of his funniest moments from his time on camera with the Science Channel video crew.


Don't forget to catch the Terra Nova marathon Sunday, July 7 starting at 10AM, only on Science Channel.

7 Feb

That is rather ODD...

These observations are things I have learned from our Oddities genre of programming:
  1. One can identify if a piece of "freak" taxidermy is real by feeling for seam lines
  2. It's not surprising for people into taxidermy & articulating to be vegetarians
  3. A Taphophile is someone who is passionate about cemeteries (e.g. gravestones)
Do you know what else is odd and very cool? The cast of Oddities and Oddities San Francisco are going to meet in person – true story! Here are some pictures of when the Executive Producer (Josh Berkley) and I went to Obscura and met everyone.

Continue reading >

27 Nov

Introducing Fringe Puppet Theatre!

Puppets500x313We here at Science love Fringe. We also love Red Vines (almost as much as Walter Bishop). So, of course, the next logical step was to merge the two -- and invite all of our Fringe fans to play along.

Introducing Red Vines' Fringe Puppet Theater: we give you the puppets, you grab some Red Vines from the grocery store and then you film your favorite scenes from Fringe. Then you send us a video link and we feature it on our Fringe on Science Channel Facebook page!


Before you get started, you should know we're working on our own video. Actually, we've enlisted the help of one of Fringe's biggest fans, Ian Larson, son of one of Science's employees. He spent all weekend cutting, pasting, and filming his favorite scene from Fringe, Season 1 -- it's the one where the bank robber gets stuck in a wall, dies, and then Walter cuts off his hand. These are photos his mom took of him hard at work.


We'll be featuring his video shortly, but also wanted to give YOU the chance to get in on the fun. You can download, print and cut your puppets from the large picture image below. Then, film away! We'll take all of the submissions (unless they contain foul or inappropriate language) and feature them on Facebook. So start puppeting NOW! 

When you're finished, tweet us a link to your video OR leave us a link in the comments may even receive a little somethin' somethin' from us as a "thank you" gift...hint, hint.

Here's the big image. Simply click the photo. It'll show up in a new window and you can print it for your puppting needs!


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