Thursday, April 10, 2014

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Today on Far Future Horizons we delve into the fantasy and amazing accuracy of Jules Verne's classic novel and discover what it will take for humanity to conquer the final frontier – the center of the earth. This documentary first aired on the Discovery Channel in 2003.

Man has always been fascinated with the soil beneath his feet, but just how far beneath the earth's crust have we gone? Miners reveal some of the deepest mines ever constructed, while naval engineers demonstrate a deep-sea submersible capable of going 22,000 feet below the surface. In the lab, civil engineers talk of adapting NASA technology to develop a super-drill that could reach the center of the earth. And, scientists explain that there is in fact life very near the earth's molten core – just as Verne predicted.

Book cover of the 1878 edition of Jules Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth

Travel through the mouth of a volcano, through a sea of lava and emerge into a land of floating continents and upside mountains. This is the strange, violent world near the earth's iron core. Scientists explain how the core protects us from the sun's deadly cosmic rays and reveal how the molten core of iron – Verne's shining "sea” – benefits from our planet's built-in recycling system. Learn how the seafloor is pushed under the continents and down into the hot mantle where it melts – only to return to the surface years later as molten lava and eventually the very soil on which we stand.

Inspired by Jules Verne's novel of the same name, this made-for-cable documentary follows a group of scientists embarking upon a perilous journey toward the Earth's core. The "actuality" footage of the members of the expedition exploring subterranean caves and the like are juxtaposed with dramatized excerpts from the Verne novel, neatly comparing fact with fiction (though truthfully, the "facts," backed up by state-of-the-art technology, are far more fascinating).

Journey to the Center of the Earth is available on DVD from the Discovery Channel’s online store.

The Discovery Channel's Journey to the Center of the Earth

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