6 Best Deep Space Documentaries

Deep space documentaries explore the vast expanse beyond our solar system. It is a mysterious realm that holds countless wonders waiting for discovery. Deep space houses galaxies, nebulae, and black holes stretching billions of light-years away. 

Exploring deep space allows us to unravel the universe’s secrets, offering insights into its origins, evolution, and potential for life beyond our home planet. And these deep space documentaries excite our imaginations for exploration.

At a Glance: Best Deep Space Documentaries

Here are our favorite deep space documentaries.

Best Deep Space Documentaries

Space exploration pushes the boundaries of human knowledge and paves the way for scientific advancements that benefit life on Earth and beyond.

Built for Mars

Built for Mars

Originally a television special, Built for Mars: The Perseverance Rover chronicles NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) as they build the rover. The rover is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. And its mission is to travel to Mars to search for signs of life within an ancient Martian river delta known as the Jezero Crater.

The Perseverance Rover launched on July 30, 2020, and this deep space documentary gives viewers an inside look at the planning and build. The rover aims to collect samples that it will bury in caches on Mars for future spacecraft to pick up and return to Earth.

While this deep space documentary does an excellent job of showing the assembly and testing of the rover, some discussions about its components feel out of order to the viewer. Overall, this is an exciting closeup into the Mars Exploration Program and a great film for anyone interested in deep space exploration.

Death Dive to Saturn

Death Drive to Saturn

The Cassini spacecraft left Earth on October 15, 1997, for its billion-mile journey to Saturn. And then, it sent back stunning images and data from the giant ringed planet for over ten years. But finally, it began running out of fuel. So NASA planned one last fantastic mission. And NOVA shares the spacecraft’s final ride with all of us.

Cassini dives through the space between the planet and its rings 22 times before making one last dive into Saturn’s atmosphere. And viewers get to see how the mission progresses. This deep space documentary delivers stellar imagery and a tour of how scientists use the spacecraft’s data.

You’ll learn about Saturn’s moons, especially the largest one, Titan. There is also a significant emphasis on the planet’s rings and how they likely formed. So even though the film’s title focuses on Cassini’s last death dive, the movie captures a broader view of the spacecraft’s entire mission. 

And meeting Cassini’s team members is the icing on the cake. They fill in all the pieces of the mission you’re curious about and make it come alive on Earth.

Secrets of the Universe

Secrets of the Universe

This deep space documentary series takes you on an incredible journey over and over again. For example, episodes cover the dynamic settings of exploding stars, the search for water worlds, and a trip to the end of the universe. You’ll see how stars die and how moons emerge.

Topic explanations are easy enough for older children and teens to understand. But they still capture an adult’s attention and imagination. While studied amateur astronomers may not learn a lot of new information, the docu-series uses computer-generated graphics that aid in the discussion.

The series explains experts’ scientific techniques to discover the universe’s nature. Each episode is only about 25 minutes long, so you can enjoy it while cooking dinner without missing out.

NOVA Universe Revealed

Universe Revealed

This five-part PBS NOVA deep space documentary explores distant realms beyond the solar system. It presents new information in each 53-minute episode. 

For example, viewers learn about colliding galaxies and massive black holes. And the final episode explores the creation of our universe, the Big Bang. It uses telescope image-based animation to discover what those first few seconds of time and space were like.

To be fair, some viewers don’t care for the narrator’s interpretation of the information. But that’s a personal opinion we disagree with. Instead, we found the series entertaining and informative.

The Jupiter Enigma

The Jupiter Enigma

If you’re wondering what we can learn from Jupiter about our solar system’s birth, this is the deep space documentary for you! The 45-minute film stems from NASA’s Juno mission findings that help scientists explain what happened during the solar system’s origin. 

It explores the chaotic period when planets closer to the sun formed into terrestrial worlds while lighter elements were shot into space to create the giants. Some of the film’s Jupiter images are simply mind-blowing. The details Juno captured make it hard to remember that this world is over 500 million miles away from Earth.

The Jupiter Enigma does an excellent job explaining the Grand Tack model. In addition, it shows how the planet’s evolving orbit influenced the orbits of other early solar system objects. But it’s always good to remember that science continually evolves, so some theories have changed since the film’s release. 

Wonders of the Universe

Best Deep Space Documentaries

This deep space documentary series transfixed viewers with beautiful views and celestial images. Wonders of the Universe kept us in awe of the beauty (and chaos) surrounding us.

Satellite imagery takes viewers past Mercury to Neptune in Season 1’s Journey to the Edge of the Universe episode. And it is stunning to see. You’ll see Astro CGI at its finest in this series, which kept us on the edge of our seats, even if some of the information is basic.

Best Deep Space Documentaries: Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the best deep space documentaries provide a captivating and educational journey into the universe’s farthest reaches. They present awe-inspiring visuals and thought-provoking narratives that fuel viewer curiosity. 

By delving into the mysteries of galaxies, black holes, and cosmic phenomena, these documentaries offer a glimpse into the profound beauty and scale of the cosmos. Whether you’re an avid space enthusiast or a curious beginner, these documentaries are a must-watch.

Check out our other space documentary recommendations here!