Segments in this Video

Dream for Flight (03:08)


Leonardo da Vinci recorded drawings of birds and a design for a flying machine. Gravity, which is the barrier to flight on Earth, has been part of the universe since the Big Bang.

Power Up (03:49)

The Wright Brothers determined an engine would give their plane enough power to overcome gravity. They were able to make a light engine out of aluminum, which is rarely found in nature but can be made using electricity.

If You Can't Take the Heat (03:54)

The Wright Brothers needed a strong but light material to build their airport out of. They used wood from spruce trees, which evolved to survive the conditions on Pangaea.

First in Flight (03:31)

Primitive insects were the first animals on Earth to develop flight for survival. Dinosaurs with flight survived the extinction event and evolved into modern birds.

The Invisible Ocean (05:17)

The Hindenburg disaster halted the development of zeppelins. The aircraft was filled with hydrogen, which is lighter than the Earth's atmosphere and floats. Gravity pulls on molecules in the atmosphere to keep it in place.

Credits: Defeating Gravity (00:30)

Credits: Defeating Gravity

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Defeating Gravity

Part of the Series : Big History
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Flight takes more than wings. We need the right kind of air, the perfect materials cooked up over billions of years, and cosmic forces that are just right for us to leave the ground without tumbling off into space.

Length: 22 minutes

Item#: BVL160867

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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