BBC Earth explores The Planets along with moonlanding documentaries

The Planets. (Screengrab: YouTube)
The Planets. (Screengrab: YouTube)

Cape Town – BBC is rolling out a new 5-episode series, The Planets on BBC Earth (DStv 184) from Sunday 23 June at 18:00, along with some moon landing documentaries in July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of mankind's spacefaring milestone.

In The Planets, Professor Brian Cox as presenter uses the latest planetary science research to tell the story of the different worlds in our solar system. The Planets bring these worlds to life with the Academy Award-winning VFX company Lola Post.

"Alongside the most accurate and detailed imagery ever produced, The Planets will use the latest planetary science research to piece together the gripping history of each world," says BBC Studios Africa.

"These are stories of beauty and creation, violence and destruction that reveal the solar system and our place within it to be far more dramatic then we could ever have imagined. This is drama on a planetary scale, with characters and plot twists newly revealed."

"We'll meet the tragic Mars – once a vibrant water world yet destined by a twist of fate to become the barren, cold desert world we see today. Or the tyrannical Jupiter, which the latest science suggests, wandered through the early solar system using its massive size to create havoc and destruction that could have destroyed the Earth." The Planets will travel out to lonely, mysterious Neptune, the last major planet in the cold, remote reaches of the solar system.

Besides The Planets, BBC Earth also has several other astronomy documentaries:

Jupiter Revealed

Sunday 23 June 19:00

1 hourlong episode

Jupiter is a behemoth of a planet. All our solar system's planets, asteroids and comets would fit inside it. But we've known surprisingly little else about our greatest gas giant, until now. Five years after its launch, Nasa's spacecraft Juno has entered Jupiter's orbit and is making remarkable discoveries. This film follows Juno's mission and finally uncovers some of the planet's hidden secrets.

MARS – A Traveller's Guide

Sunday 30 June 19:00

1 hourlong episode

We now have the most detailed surveys of the Red Planet ever created. Using jaw-dropping imagery from orbit and on the surface, this insightful documentary creates the definitive traveller's guide to Mars. It reveals our nearest neighbour, not as a dead planet, but as a world of constant change and astonishing variety. Up close, monumental graphic sequences show the wonders of Mars as never before. Showcasing the marvels of a remarkable planet, this is the most comprehensive tour of Mars you can take.

Goodbye Cassini – Hello Saturn

1 hourlong episode

Sunday 7 July 19:00

On 15 September 2017, the Cassini spacecraft ended its remarkable 13-year tour of Saturn by plunging into the gas giant's atmosphere and burning up. Goodbye Cassini – Hello Saturn follows the team behind Nasa's most successful spacecraft as they prepare for its dramatic descent. Take an incredible journey past Saturn's rings and the small moons orbiting within them. This is the first view from inside the rings, and the closest ever look at Saturn's swirling cloud tops. It's also the first accurate measurement of Saturn's magnetic field, which promises to unlock more mysteries – not just about Saturn, but the entire solar system.

8 Days to the Moon and Back

2 episodes of 45 minutes

Saturday 20 July 18:00

8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds. That's the total duration of the Apollo 11 moon mission. But we only saw a fraction of what happened. Using cutting-edge special effects and previously classified cockpit audio, 8 Days recreates the crucial scenes that were never filmed: The first sight of the moon. The dramatic touchdown. The nail-biting journey home. Original archive footage is seamlessly blended with newly shot film to create a new view of history. This is the untold story of the most important space mission ever flown. And it's a giant leap for documentary storytelling.

Stargazing: Live

1 90 minute episode

Saturday 20 July at 20:00

This television event reveals the secrets of space, combining revelatory footage and live material from telescopes, bringing the wonders of the night sky into viewers' living rooms.

Moon Landing: Live

2 60 minute episodes

Saturday 21 July 19:00

July 1969. America made history and sent the first humans to the moon. Two immersive documentaries retell this extraordinary moment in history and allow viewers to experience the moon landing, live in their living rooms. The first episode relives the drama of the launch, while the second episode focuses on the nail-biting landing. Moon Landing also reveals how close the mission came to failing: Neil Armstrong was forced to take over manual control, and landed with just 30 seconds of fuel to spare. Nasa footage and international broadcasts from the time bring history bursting back into life. Step back in time, and witness the great leap forward for mankind.