PBS Announces 2012 NOVA Fall Line-Up
NOVA will look at the crisis in crime science, making the ultimate viking weapon, Easter Island, a new Mars Quest and the original computer in the 2012 Fall Line-Up on PBS. The episodes kick off with "Secrets of the Viking Super Sword" on Wednesday, October 10 at 9:00/8:00c.
Secrets of the Viking Super Sword
Premieres Wednesday, October 10th at 9PM/8c
The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time. Yet only a select few carried the ultimate weapon of their era: the feared Ulfberht sword. Fashioned using a process that would remain unknown to The Vikings' rivals for centuries, the Ulfberht was a revolutionary high-tech tool and a work of art as well. Considered one of the greatest swords ever made, it remains a fearsome weapon more than a millennium after it last saw battle. But how did Viking sword makers design and build the Ulfberht, and what was its role in history? Now, NOVA uses cutting-edge science, old-fashioned detective work, and age-old methods to reconstruct the Ulfberht and finally unravel the mystery of the Viking sword.
Forensics on Trial
Premieres Wednesday, October 17th at 9PM/8c
There is a startling gap between the glamorous television world of "CSI" and the gritty reality of the forensic crime lab. With few established scientific standards, no central oversight and poor regulation of examiners, forensics in the U.S. is in a state of crisis. In Forensics on Trial, NOVA investigates how modern forensics, including the analysis of fingerprints, bite marks, ballistics, hair, and tool marks, can send innocent men and women to prison - and sometimes even to death row. Shockingly, of more than 250 inmates exonerated by DNA testing over the last decade, more than 50 percent of the wrongful convictions stemmed from invalid or improperly handled forensic science. With the help of vivid recreations of actual trials and cases, such as the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the Madrid terrorist bombings, NOVA investigates today's shaky state of crime science, as well as cutting-edge solutions that could help investigators put the real criminals behind bars.
Iceman Murder Mystery
Airs Wednesday, October 24th at 9PM/8c
He's been dead for more than 5,000 years and probed by scientists for the last two decades. Yet today, Otzi the Iceman, the famous mummified corpse pulled from a glacier in the Italian Alps nearly 20 years ago, continues to keep many secrets. Now, a new autopsy yields fresh clues to his way of life and the mysterious circumstances of his murder. If he was a warrior or a hunter, what was he doing so high up in the mountains, armed with an unfinished bow and useless arrows? If he was fleeing for his life, why did he eat a big meal less than an hour before he was killed? Besides clues to this original "cold case," Otzi's frozen remains reveal intriguing details of his life and times in the ancient Copper Age. Join NOVA and National Geographic as they defrost the ultimate time capsule, the 5,000-year-old man.
Ghosts of Machu Picchu
Airs Wednesday, October 31st at 9PM/8c
Perched atop a mountain crest, mysteriously abandoned more than four centuries ago, Machu Picchu is the most famous archeological ruin in the Western Hemisphere and an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca. In the years since Machu Picchu was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, there have been countless theories about this "Lost City of the Incas," yet it remains an enigma. Why did the Incas build it on such an inaccessible site? Who lived among its stone buildings, farmed its emerald green terraces, and drank from its sophisticated aqueduct system? NOVA joins a new generation of archeologists as they probe areas of Machu Picchu that haven't been touched since the time of the Incas. See what they discover when they unearth burials of the people who built the sacred site.
Mystery of Easter Island
Premieres Wednesday, November 7 at 9PM/8c
A remote, bleak speck of rock in the middle of the Pacific, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has mystified the world ever since the first Europeans arrived in 1722. How and why did the ancient islanders build and move nearly 900 giant statues, or moai, weighing up to 86 tons? And how did they transform a presumed paradise into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin upon their island and themselves? NOVA and National Geographic explore controversial recent claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism. Among the radical new theories is that the islanders used ropes to "walk" the statues upright, like moving a fridge. With the help of an accurate 15-ton replica statue, a NOVA team sets out to test this high-risk, seemingly unlikely theory - serving up plenty of action and surprises in this fresh investigation of one of the ancient world's most intriguing enigmas.