Category : Technology

Remembering the Challenger

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted.”   –President Ronald Reagan

It’s one of those few moments in history that is burned into the memories of most people alive at the time.  30 years ago on a clear but cold Florida morning, the Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off with 6 NASA astronauts and one special crew member on board. The shuttle missions were fascinating on their own, but this mission carried Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher from New Hampshire, who had become all our teacher.

As people paused their days and watched on television screens around the world, including school children from all over the country, millions witnessed what is still today one of the worst tragedies of the American Space Program.



 

The nation was stunned and horrified.  That day in January was also scheduled to be the President’s State of the Union address.  For the only time in modern history, the speech was cancelled.  Instead, then President Ronald Reagan spoke to a grieving nation, and closed his remarks with powerful words that will live on forever:

“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives.  We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”

The President’s speech also issued a clear message to NASA, to the country, and to the world.  We would continue the important journey of space exploration.  There would be more shuttle flights, more missions, and indeed, there were.

The Space Shuttle fleet helped to broaden humankind’s exploration of space for three decades.  Cosmic Front: Space Shuttle on CuriosityStream has the dramatic story of all the triumphs and tragedies until the fleet’s final flight in 2011.

The U.S. Space Program is in a new phase, working to stay on the leading edge of scientific discovery.  CuriosityStream offers a substantial selection of programming about the past, present and future of space exploration.  Check out Curiosity Studios’ original documentary Mars: The Journey for an in depth look at efforts to land humans on the red planet.  And watch our original 13-part series Destination: Pluto about the New Horizons mission to explore the dwarf planet and the outer edges of deep space.

And as we look forward, we will always remember that clear but cold morning in Florida.

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#CuriosityTravels


I hope you’re enjoying a great start to 2016!

This past year has been quite a busy one for CuriosityStream and our small, hardworking team.  In the nine months since our debut on March 18, 2015, we’ve launched apps across Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Android and iOS.  As well, our partnership with Amazon enabled CuriosityStream’s library to become available to Amazon Prime members via Amazon’s SVOD service.  Lastly, in late September, CuriosityStream went global with our content to allow worldwide access to outstanding science, technology, history and nature documentaries.

Importantly, our global library allows CuriosityStream subscribers to watch our nonfiction programs from anywhere in the world.  I had the incredible experience of speaking in Italy recently, where I could watch CuriosityStream when my Netflix account was unavailable.  If you have upcoming travels, make sure to try us out and use the hashtag #curiositytravels to keep us informed of your experience.

In 2016, CuriosityStream looks forward to enhancing our recommendation engine, adding closed captions, offering annual plans and debuting 4K.  We can’t wait to share over 50 hours of 4K content in early spring, kicking off the launch with the premiere of our exclusive production, Big Picture Earth.  Crafted by the same filmmaker behind Discovery HD’s hit series, Sunrise Earth, CuriosityStream’s Big Picture Earth will take viewers on a 4K journey to twenty of the most spectacular locations in the world, including Stonehenge, the Acropolis, and Petra.

For now, I highly recommend our Curious Minds: The Future with Peter Diamandis as well as a few other forward-thinking programs: Catalyst: Quantum Computing, Next World: The Future with Michio Kaku, and Science Shorts.  Stay curious!

 

Best,

EHN signature

Elizabeth Hendricks North is President of CuriosityStream. Follow her on Twitter @ehendricksnorth.

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Moon Man… Or Woman?

What do you get when you lock 6 female, Russian cosmonauts in a mock spaceship for over a week? The answer: an experiment further drawing attention to Russia’s growing interesting a lunar landing. The Russian Federal Space Agency announced that a mission to the moon is planned for 2029. And as part of that effort, a crew of 6 Russian women just emerged from an 8-day mock spaceflight, the first test of its kind featuring an all-female crew. Each of the six volunteer scientists has a background in medicine or biophysics. They performed over 30 experiments during the simulated flight, and dealt with curveballs including bad weather simulations that delayed their “re-entry” by a day. Russia is taking a page from its own history books. The first woman in space was from the Soviet Union. Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshlova spent almost 3 days in orbit in 1963, at the height of the US-Soviet space race.

Of course, the Unites States put the first humans on the moon. July 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface as the dramatic moment beamed live around the world. The mission is still referred to as one of mankind’s greatest technological achievements.

The Smithsonian’s Dr. Roger Launius, formerly NASA’s chief historian, paints a picture of Apollo 11’s extraordinary crew, and tells the story behind those famous words etched in the history books.

For the complete history behind all of NASA’s Moon Missions, from Apollo 1 to Apollo 17, search for Moonshots on CuriosityStream . For the first time, see the dramatic events in 4K and HD original footage taken by the astronauts during the most iconic space voyages in history.

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Mars: The Next Frontier?

NASA grabbed a lot of headlines this week with its message of a “Mars Mystery Solved!”

Social media started buzzing with guesses on the announcement, ranging from implications of water on Mars, to actual life on the red planet. Indeed, when NASA made all the excitement official, it unveiled definitive signs of liquid, flowing water on our closest planetary neighbor.

CuriosityStream advisory board member and SETI Institute co-founder Dr. Jill Tarter shared her thoughts on NASA’s revelation and the implications for her work at the forefront of the search for extraterrestrial life:

“Liquid water on Mars – now!  That’s just one more way that the universe appears to be bio-friendly.  But determining whether this habitable real estate is actually inhabited will be a tough job, and one that demands a lot of care.  As John Rummel (the SETI Institute’s own Planetary Protection guru) reminds us, we could potentially do a lot of harm by introducing terrestrial organisms into environments on Mars where they could grow and reproduce.

Dr. Tarter continued, “Ultimately humans may wish to live on the red planet, which won’t be so red after terraforming, but first we need to know if anything else is living there. If there is life, and it isn’t related to us, then this second genesis in our one small solar system guarantees that we will find life beyond Earth in great abundance.  Whether any of that life is intelligent and technological is an obvious next question; the question that SETI works to answer.”

You can dive deep into all these questions on CuriosityStream, which is premiering four new programs focused on the scientific, historical and emotional perspectives of exploring and potentially living on Mars.

MARS: THE JOURNEY is an original mini-documentary about mankind’s enduring quest to explore Mars, featuring experts from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  A series of recent robotic missions is providing clues that could pave the way for manned exploration that could one day make Mars our home.

DESTINATION MARS is a 5-part original series investigating the perils and promise of a manned mission to Mars. A mix of documentary sequences, expert interviews and dramatic reconstructions explore in detail the plans of the Netherlands-based group Mars One – and efforts underway by NASA and private companies to reach the red planet.  Here’s a sneak peak:



 

Also:

A CURIOUS WORLD: CAN WE COLONIZE MARS? is a short-form original that explores the realities of living on the red planet. Multiple public and private ventures are making real progress toward a goal that once seemed unimaginable:  establishing a human settlement on Mars. But what will it take to get there?  Will humans ultimately be able to survive on Mars?

COSMIC FRONT: TERRAFORMING MARS is a one-hour special that explores how a seemingly dead world like the red planet could be transformed into an Eden of flowing rivers and towering forests in less than a century. Astrobiologist Chris McKay has a bold plan to seed life, warm the atmosphere and trigger cascading events that could create a second earth teeming with life.

Start right here to begin your own mission of curiosity!

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Now On Roku!

CuriosityStream is now available on Roku!

On demand, 24 hours a day, commercial free – you now have access to the 1000+ titles of programming on your television via the Roku channel.

As consumers continue to shift to connected devices for their programming of choice, our newly-launched Roku channel now gives a direct and simple way to watch CuriosityStream programming on your television sets. Roku access complements CuriosityStream’s existing web and mobile access, and it enables our membership pursue their curiosity on the big screen.

Development of the Roku channel is an important step in CuriosityStream’s evolution as the premier provider of video-on-demand non-fiction programming that educates, entertains and inspires.

Peter North, Chief Digital Officer at CuriosityStream, gives us a look behind the scenes at the development process:

“Moving from the keyboard-and-cursor and touch-based paradigms of our web and mobile applications to the ten-foot, remote-based experience on the big screen required substantial development. The thinking that went into our Roku channel has effectively paved the way for us to have a presence on other big-screen platforms that cater to the home theater experience. We’re already utilizing that work to build on several other well-known and widely-used streaming devices, and our members have helped us understand which platforms would be best to pursue next.

We’ve always intended for CuriosityStream customers to enjoy our content alongside friends and family members. Access only on web and mobile devices made it difficult to have that kind of shared experience. But, with the recent rollout of our Roku and Chromecast support, as well as the Apple TV support (via AirPlay) that we’ve offered since launch, CuriosityStream members now have several convenient and affordable ways to enjoy our library on their bigger screens.”

If you are new to CuriosityStream, sign up for a free 30-day trial here. And for current subscribers with a Roku device, you can add our Roku channel to your Roku device via the Roku channel store.

Grab the remote, sit back, watch, and we hope you enjoy!

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This Day In History: Japan Surrenders

September 2nd marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese Empire officially surrendering in World War II. On that day in 1945, Japanese foreign minister, Manoru Shigemitsu, boarded the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay to formally sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, overseen and accepted by General Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the Allies.

Before cracking open your old history books or popping in the Pearl Harbor or Saving Private Ryan DVDs, check out these top five documentaries featured on CuriosityStream that will give you an in-depth experience of our world’s most epic conflict of the 20th century. Gain insight from world historians that closely examine the war experience, from Hitler’s rise in power to Hiroshima.

Hiroshima

BBC | Two-Part Documentary

A two-part documentary series on the defining moment of the 20th Century – the world’s first atomic attack. This program shows what it is like to live through a nuclear explosion. The action takes viewers into the room where the crucial political decisions are made; on board the Enola Gay on her fateful voyage; inside the bomb as it explodes; and on the streets of Hiroshima when disaster strikes. Special effects recreate the reality of the mission, and archive film replays the horrific aftermath.  Here’s a preview:

 

Killing Hitler

BBC | Two-Part Documentary

June 1944 — British intelligence suggests that without Hitler, the German war effort would falter. ‘LBX’, a staff officer with the Special Operations Executive, must devise a plan for Hitler’s assassination. How could a British agent get close enough to Hitler to kill him?

D-Day

BBC | Documentary

The planning for the Allied invasion on June 6th 1944 took two years and cost thousands of lives, and involved a deception of breathtaking audacity. D-Day examines the intricate jigsaw, presenting events through the eyes of the men and women who were there, telling their extraordinary stories.

D-Day: Hidden Traces

Terranoa | Documentary

D-Day – June 6th 1944 : Uncovered by recent archeological digs, traces left behind by soldiers and civilians on the battle ground such as helmets, badges, bullets, weapons, and cans plus findings of underground passages and secret blockhouses provide new insights into WW2 history.  Here is a look:

 

The Men and Machines That Beat Hitler

BBC | Two-Part Documentary

This is the story of the veterans who fought in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment – a team of ordinary men who faced the frontline in both Europe and beyond. Their involvement in the Second World War spanned the humiliating defeat at Dunkirk, victory in the deserts of North Africa and finally saw resentment and revolt before D-Day. Based on the unpublished diaries and memoirs of the men who were thrust together in extraordinary circumstances to fight Hitler and his forces, this program uses drama and documentary to bring their stories to life.

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CuriosityStream goes back to school!

Yes, that’s the school bell ringing you hear! Summer is winding down and kids are going back to class. You can help them supercharge their learning with 2 new series from CuriosityStream!

Imagine three teenage pranksters who challenge the laws of physics with their superpowers. That’s Quarx, an original series that takes an entirely new spin on science education and physics. Think of it as a science-fueled romp for the YouTube generation. How do you sneak into a party if you’re not on the guest list?  What happens if your pet black hole ends up eating the entire world?  These teens channel all their energy into finding the answers in physics.  That’s something parents can get excited about. But shhh! Don’t tell the kids it’s educational.

Grab your science-curious kids and check out a free preview episode here.

There’s also the wild adventures of Baron Munchhausen, who takes a quirky look at the greatest inventors in history. That’s Mind Blowing Breakthroughs – a series that puts the Baron right in the middle of those flashes of genius that changed the course of humankind…from Leonardo da Vinci to the Wright Brothers. This definitely isn’t how they teach history in high school!

Besides those 2 new series, CuriosityStream offers learners of all ages in depth documentaries on everything from the the planets and dinosaurs to Shakespeare and the science behind dreams.

Pens and pencils? Check. Backpack? Check. Laptop? Check, check. Now, don’t forget to add CuriosityStream to your school supply list. For a limited time at www.CuriosityStream.com/school, you can watch the first episode of Quarx, and new subscribers can take advantage of a special discount for three months of CuriosityStream, starting at $5.

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5 Fascinating Moments From The 2015 Curiosity Retreat

  1. David McCullough’s inspiring story of discovery, curiosity, genius, and sense of purpose. The master historian told the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright. But this was more than a timeline of the brothers’ great invention and the birth of aviation. We all covered that back in history class. This was the story of personal drive, commitment, family and an intellectual curiosity that never relented. And when the incomparable David McCullough told the story, it became about more than the Wright Brothers. It was an inspiring message of innovation, teamwork, and personal character that we can all strive for in every aspect of our lives.
  1. Dr. Brian Greene, illuminating what we know and still don’t know about the nature of our own reality. Particles, waves, probability – these are the core elements of quantum mechanics, as explained to us by the renown physicist. Dr. Greene’s animations allowed us all to understand the complex theories as a physicist would. We visualized how these important waves of probability would combine, or coalesce, and how the particles that make up our universe act like these waves. But how do we go from the spread out waves of probability to the definite reality of our experience? That is the puzzle, he says, and in his own words, the mystery is exciting, frightening, thrilling. But Dr. Greene is working on solving it.
  1. A grammar lesson, of sorts, from political theorist Dr. Danielle Allen. In particular, the misplacement of a very important period. You know the beginning of the second sentence from the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is it is, our guarantee of these profoundly American rights and ideals. But Dr. Allen argued the sentence doesn’t end there. A misplaced period in the very first ever printing of the document led to a significant misinterpretation. Dr. Allen theorized that our nation’s founders put equal importance on our individual rights as well as our responsibility to create good government that ensures the rights of everyone. The document is 1,337 words, and Dr. Allen challenged us to read every one of them. Our summer reading assignment from the Harvard Professor.
  1. Rick Smolan, boggling our minds with facts such as these: More pictures have been taken in the last 2 months than since the dawn of photography. And our 15th century ancestors experienced the same amount of information in their entire lifetimes as we do now in one single day. The revolution of big data is here. Smolan, a journalist and photographer, focused his lens on the technologies that impact our daily lives, and their impact on our privacy, and our future — from marketing strategies to lure shoppers into big box stores to crisis response in disaster zones. Smolan described the explosion of data as helping our planet grow a nervous system with each of us evolving into human sensors. For better or worse is yet to be decided.
  1. Dr. Art Benjamin, the amazing Mathemagician, calculating the square of 97,437. In his head. Without a calculator. You try it. Enough said!

Our 2015 Curiosity Retreat guests also heard deep dives from several other Luminaries on topics such as The Creative Brain, Conscious Capitalism, and The Wonders of Our Oceans. All of our 2015 Curiosity Retreat lectures are available now on CuriosityStream. What will you find fascinating?

Vanessa Gillon

Coordinating Producer, CuriosityStream

 

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Celebrating the Pluto Flyby!

A team from CuriosityStream witnessed the historic moment of the Pluto Flyby!

“The Pluto mission is a human endeavor” said Alan Stern, as the crowd at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory patiently awaited the highly anticipated flyby of New Horizons by Pluto on the morning of July 14th, 2015 just minutes before 8:00am.

The big lit screens gave the count, five minutes away and everybody was standing by; American flags in hand, we saw media, scientists, mission team members and international visitors come together for Pluto’s final reveal and well deserved comeback. Bill Nye, the Science Guy, joined the enthusiastic group to the side of the stage, as the buzz starting growing. Multiple electronic devices on hand, cameramen filming on their mobiles and video equipment simultaneously, and a man three seats down surprised that the picture he sent had just reached the other side of the world “I just sent this to Australia!” he exclaimed looking at his screen. There was even a replica of the New Horizons probe turned into a hat that was passed around among some lucky heads.

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Before we could even realize it, the countdown had started. Nervous eyes scanned the room looking for a sense of understanding of what was about to take place. Alan Stern and New Horizons team members encouraged everybody to join in — “Make sure they can hear us all over the world!”. A countdown like no other; actually, one of the best countdowns you could ever witness. Far beyond the hype of New Year’s and watching fireworks in the sky, this was it: a once in a lifetime event, for all the talented individuals from the New Horizons, NASA, and JPL teams, that took nine years of continuous monitoring and a very long waiting period.

And so it went, from 10 down to the last second, the hundreds of people gathered for the early morning event loudly raised their voices as they experienced history in the making. This time, there were no pictures, no live transmission on screen, no man floating down the iconic stairs or a spacecraft roughly landing on a red planet. As invisible and low key as the Pluto flyby was, it was also a collective mind-blowing understanding of how far we have come – the final frontier of our solar system has now been explored. And as a lonely probe continues to fly into the unknown beyond Pluto and onto the Kuiper Belt, we are certain that we can now welcome a new chapter of space exploration and the next set of discoveries — lead, as always, by the curious ones.

Laura Santana

Marketing and Production

Relive the excitement of July 14th, 2015!

 

 

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Destination: Pluto

The New Horizons mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 19, 2006.  Since then, NASA’s space probe has traveled a million miles a day for nearly 10 years to reach its destination, Pluto!  It will gather its closest images on July 14, 2015 — the 50th Anniversary of the Mariner 4’s flyby of Mars.  However, this mission will collect 5,000 times more data than the Mariner 4!

Five episodes about the New Horizons mission are now available on CuriosityStream.com and include expert interviews with principal investigator, Alan Stern.  Watch Destination: Pluto, and dive deep into the #PlutoFlyby!

Best,

Elizabeth Hendricks North

President | CuriosityStream

 

 

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