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8 Space Documentaries That Will Blow Your Mind

8 Space Documentaries That Will Blow Your Mind

With all the buzz surrounding the new film First Man, set to release on October 12, we’re seeing quite the uptick in people interested in learning more about outer space—how far we’ve gone, what we’ve discovered, how we got there, etc.

While First Man is receiving early praise for its attention to detail and historical factuality, we think nothing beats a good old-fashioned documentary. These films were made by people who care, featuring the people who know best. Luckily for us, there are a ton of really excellent documentaries out there about space, and we combed through all of them to bring you some of our must-watch favorites. Here are the best space documentaries that will blow your mind.

In The Shadow of the Moon

Of all the documentaries on this list, In The Shadow of the Moon is our favorite because it truly was a game-changing film. The premise is simple: A documentary that brings together every surviving crew member of every single Apollo mission between 1968 and 1972, and allows them the opportunity to tell their story in real-time, from their own mouths. The documentary also features incredible archival footage re-mastered specifically for the documentary. Link

IMAX: Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope is arguably one of the most valuable inventions in human history, and now, thanks to the IMAX Space Team, we have a documentary celebrating its legacy and impact on the way we humans see the universe we live in. This visually-stunning masterpiece tells the story of the Space Shuttle mission to repair and upgrade Hubble, while offering important insight into how it works, what it’s capable of, and why it’s so valuable. As if that all wasn’t appealing enough, it’s also worth mentioning the documentary is narrated by none other than Leonardo DiCaprio. Link

2015: The Year of Pluto

In the deep reaches of our solar system, there lies a planet so foreign and mysterious that we’ve been able to do little more than speculate about it for some time. 2015: The Year of Pluto tells the story of NASA’s New Horizons mission, which sent a deep space probe toward Pluto. The probe was launched in 2006 and didn’t reach Pluto until 2015. This BBC documentary goes to great lengths to explore the origins of NASA’s New Horizons mission and what the probe found when it finally reached Pluto. Link

Journey to the Edge of the Universe

We always love a good Nat Geo documentary, and of all the ones we’ve seen, Journey to the Edge of the Universe is probably our all-time favorite. The Nat Geo team, using compiled images from the Hubble Telescope and computer imaging, go to the deepest parts of the universe to explore it in all its wonderful and, at times, terrifying glory. It delves into everything from the planets we know, to the planets we don’t, and even existence of inexplicable black holes in the middle of the universe. Link

Through the Wormhole

This one might be cheating just a tiny bit, because Through The Wormhole is technically a documentary series. However, it is far and away one of the best and most interesting programs about space, time, and human life that has ever been produced. Plus, it’s narrated by Morgan Freeman. It ran for 8 incredible seasons from 2010 to 2017, and each episode tackles an issue, from the concept of the Big Bang and the question of “Who created us?” to whether or not time travel is possible, what black holes actually are, and what the universe is made out of. Of course, as the series progressed, it became less about space (some episodes answer questions like, “Is privacy dead?” and “Do we live in the Matrix?” and, oddly enough, “Are aliens inside us?”), but it never departs too far from its outer space origins. Link

For All Mankind

Critics have called it the single-best documentary film about our journey to space, For All Mankind features official film footage taken by NASA and its astronauts during various Apollo missions, as well as interviews with the astronauts themselves. While it might sound like it centers around the Apollo missions, the film is actually, at its core, a film about man’s fascination with space and our journey to get to the moon. In other words, it’s really, really good. Link

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Another docu-series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’s trailer begins with Neil deGrasse Tyson proclaiming, “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.” And while Seth MacFarlane is an executive producer on the show, there’s nothing at all funny about it. The inaugural episode, which aired on March 9, 2014, is titled “Standing Up in The Milky Way” and explores Earth, our place in the known universe, and how humanity’s perception of our world and our universe has changed over our existence. Other episodes talk about how early man used astronomy and astrology to advance, and how that continued on to influence our scientific discoveries later, like Newton’s work on gravity; how light is the main source we use to see into Space Unknown; and the very nature of the cosmos itself—on micro and atomic scales. Link

The Farthest: Voyager in Space

Easily one of the most important—if not the most important—achievements in human history, the Voyager space probes have given humankind immeasurable information about the universe we live in, and have defied all odds and expectations about their life, longevity, and purpose. These two tiny space probes were launched in 1977 and, to this day, still float on through space, relaying information back to the Deep Space Network daily. As of June 4, 2018, Voyager 1 is the most distant man-made object from Earth, being over 13.2 billion miles from the sun, and traveling at a rate of 10 miles per second.  The Farthest tells the complete story of the Voyager mission. More than that, it’s a beautiful and inspiring documentary about man’s fascination with space travel, and the wonderment of what we know awaits us in the cosmos. Link

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