10 Best Episodes of NOVA - Season 46

PBS' premier science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, NOVA demystifies science and technology, and highlights the people involved in scientific pursuits.

Written by Sophie and last updated on feb 10, 2023.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

NOVA - S46E9

#15 - First Horse Warriors (Season 46 - Episode 9)

Horse riding played a key role in human expansion and civilization. Scientists use archeology and genetics to uncover clues about the first horse riders and how they shaped the world.

The episode was rated 7.86 from 44 votes.

NOVA - S46E20

#14 - Dead Sea Scroll Detectives (Season 46 - Episode 20)


New technologies unravel the Dead Sea Scrolls’ mysteries and uncover million-dollar fakes.

The episode was rated 7.88 from 42 votes.

NOVA - S46E5

#13 - Rise of the Rockets (Season 46 - Episode 5)

With new technologies, NASA and private companies are promising a new renaissance in space travel.

The episode was rated 7.90 from 62 votes.

NOVA - S46E3

#12 - Kïlauea: Hawai'i on Fire (Season 46 - Episode 3)


Journey to Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, which sent rivers of lava through communities and into the sea when it erupted in 2018. A group of scientists and locals investigate the spike in volcano activity that turned paradise into an inferno.

The episode was rated 7.92 from 59 votes.

NOVA - S46E14

#11 - The Planets: Jupiter (3) (Season 46 - Episode 14)

Jupiter's massive gravitational force has made it both a wrecking ball and a protector of Earth.

The episode was rated 7.92 from 50 votes.

NOVA - S46E12

#10 - The Planets: Inner Worlds (1) (Season 46 - Episode 12)


The rocky planets have similar origins, but only one supports life. Was it always this way?

The episode was rated 7.95 from 57 votes.

NOVA - S46E2

#9 - Einstein's Quantum Riddle (Season 46 - Episode 2)

Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance,” but today quantum entanglement is poised to revolutionize technology from computers to cryptography. Physicists have gradually become convinced that the phenomenon—two subatomic particles that mirror changes in each other instantaneously over any distance—is real.

The episode was rated 7.96 from 79 votes.

NOVA - S46E10

#8 - Lost Viking Army (Season 46 - Episode 10)


Bioarchaeologists investigate a ninth-century mass grave in a rural English village. Will the remains unlock the mystery of the “Great Heathen Army,” a legendary Viking fighting force that once invaded England?

The episode was rated 8.00 from 49 votes.

NOVA - S46E11

#7 - Back to the Moon (Season 46 - Episode 11)

Fifty years after humans first stepped foot on the moon, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs engage in new discoveries to make life on the moon a reality.

The episode was rated 8.02 from 58 votes.

NOVA - S46E8

#6 - Inside the Megafire (Season 46 - Episode 8)


From the front line of the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, NOVA tells the stories of residents who had to flee for their lives during the 2018 fire season. Scientists racing to understand what’s behind the rise of record-breaking megafires across the American West take to the forest, and even a fire lab, in search of answers. They investigate how forestry practices, climate change, and the physics of fire itself play a role in the dramatic increase in wildfires in recent decades.

The episode was rated 8.03 from 38 votes.

NOVA - S46E23

#5 - Animal Espionage (Season 46 - Episode 23)

How do you study giant armadillos when hardly anyone has ever seen one? Or figure out if a whale is losing weight—without getting too close? Camera and drone technologies are allowing scientists to watch animals more closely than ever before, without disturbing them. Scientists in India are using thousands of camera trap photos to track tigers' movements. In Canada, caribou outfitted with collar cams show conservationists which habitats they rely on throughout the winter. Capturing everything from the unexpected to the comical, these technologies are giving wildlife managers insights that could ultimately help them fight extinction and habitat loss.

The episode was rated 8.07 from 28 votes.

NOVA - S46E21

#4 - Decoding da Vinci (Season 46 - Episode 21)


Discover the science behind Leonardo da Vinci's masterpieces—and Mona Lisa's iconic smile.

The episode was rated 8.10 from 40 votes.

NOVA - S46E15

#3 - The Planets: Saturn (4) (Season 46 - Episode 15)

Nasa's Cassini reveals the mysteries of Saturn's rings and new hope for life on one of its moons.

The episode was rated 8.11 from 47 votes.

NOVA - S46E16

#2 - The Planets: Ice Worlds (5) (Season 46 - Episode 16)


Beyond the bizarre, icy worlds of Uranus and Neptune, Pluto dazzles with its mysterious ocean.

The episode was rated 8.18 from 45 votes.

NOVA - S46E1

#1 - Pluto and Beyond (Season 46 - Episode 1)

Since it explored Pluto in 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft has been zooming toward NASA’s most distant target yet. Join the mission team as the probe attempts to fly by Ultima Thule, an object 4 billion miles from Earth.

The episode was rated 8.21 from 80 votes.

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