The best space documentaries on Netflix fill you with inspiration for what lies beyond Earth’s boundaries. And they show you just how infinite space is. Astronomy lovers can watch documentaries about alien worlds while taking a trip to infinity. And you can learn how Earth formed, which teaches scientists how other planets got their start.
So pop a bag of corn and settle into your favorite chair. We’re here to help you discover the best space shows on Netflix.
At a Glance: Best Space Documentaries on Netflix
You’ll find excellent documentary options for learning about space, stars, and planets. There are also options to learn about the role of women in space history, and you’ll take a look into black holes.
Table of Contents
Best Space Documentaries on Netflix
Here’s our take on Netflix’s best space documentaries and movies.
1. Best Alien Life Answers: Alien Worlds
Narrator: Sophie Okonedo
This 2020 space documentary on Netflix explores how life that exists on Earth may apply to other worlds in the galaxy. This four-episode documentary series uses CGI to place life on fictional planets.
Alien Worlds bases the creatures on scientific research, so even though you know they’re computer generated, they could still exist in space. For example, hive behavior in Earth’s bees gets a new existence when ants colonize a new planet.
We all want to believe in life in other worlds. And this combination of fiction plus learning shows viewers how Earth’s laws of life could result in alien existence. It’s part mind-blowing CGI and part science that keeps you engaged the whole time you’re watching.
Netflix calls this a “speculative nature series,” and we think they hit it out of the ballpark!
2. Best Women in Space in the 1960s: Mercury 13
Mercury 13 is a 2018 space documentary on Netflix that explores the dashing of dreams of female pilots in 1961. Thirteen women trained in a separate independently-funded program, just as did their male counterparts, to become NASA’s first astronauts in the space program.
And even though each of these female pilots outshone the men in some areas of training, they were not allowed in NASA’s program. Instead, when NASA learned about their program, they shut it down.
This space documentary interviews the surviving members of Mercury 13. It explores their experiences and the roles of women in future astronaut programs. Watching this show fills viewers with sadness and exhilaration at the same time.
3. Best Look at Challenger: Challenger, The Final Flight
This 2020 limited series space documentary on Netflix chronicles the events leading up to and the aftermath of the 1986 Challenger disaster. In the four episodes, viewers learn details of the Space Shuttle’s safety issues.
Episode 2 introduces viewers to Christa McAuliffe, a school teacher turned civilian astronaut. And the following two shows continue documenting engineer safety concerns and the subsequent Shuttle explosion.
Challenger, The Final Flight offers a poignant view into the failed space mission.
4. Best Universe Discussion: A Trip to Infinity
This 2022 movie is all about the vastness of infinity. With the help of animations, philosophers, mathematicians, cosmologists, and particle physicists share their ideas and concepts about infinity.
This documentary on Netflix tackles an enormously complex topic, making it fun and exciting. The conceptualized animations help viewers grapple with infinity and the futility of grappling with paradoxes. The movie reminds us of Aristotle’s theory that the more we know, the more we realize we don’t know. It’s a mind-bender, for sure.
5. Best Edge of Our Limit: Black Holes | The Edge of All We Know
Black Holes is a 2021 space documentary on Netflix that follows scientists trying to capture a black hole image for the very first time. Director and producer Peter Galison takes viewers on a journey to the edge of humanity’s universe knowledge.
Stephen Hawking and fellow collaborators work with another group of scientists and astronomers to answer questions about what black holes have to teach us. Black holes are both the darkest and brightest space objects. In understanding and exploring black holes, Earth’s most brilliant minds strive to better understand our universe’s building blocks.
6. Best Mars Space Documentary on Netflix: The Mars Generation
Starring: Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Michio Kaku
The Mars Generation follows teenagers training at Space Camp, chasing dreams of becoming astronauts and engineers. They hope to one day lead the journey to Mars. This 2017 space documentary on Netflix takes a light-hearted approach to NASA’s past and future endeavors.
The young people training at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center are enthusiastic and hopeful for future space exploration roles. And that helps all of us remember that humans exploring space is a really cool thing.
Guests like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson add further enthusiasm with their discussions about space travel and its potential. This is an excellent space documentary for any budding STEM student.
7. Best Exploration: Return to Space
Elon Musk takes viewers on a wondrous journey as SpaceX engineers aim to turn space travel in a new direction. This 2022 space documentary on Netflix chronicles SpaceX sending astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station in spacecraft Dragon 2.
The film explores working outside NASA’s system to envision space travel differently. And at times, it seems like a SpaceX commercial. But the overwhelmingly feel-good documentary aims to inspire humanity to move beyond Earth’s boundaries. And that makes it worth a watch.
Best Space Documentaries on Netflix: Final Pick
There are so many excellent space documentaries on Netflix that it is difficult to choose our final pick. But we must go with The Mars Generation. It has a light-heartedness that excites a new generation about the sciences. Kids and adults alike will enjoy watching teenagers striving to become the next group of scientists and astronauts headed to Mars.
Check out our top space documentary recommendations here!