If you’re fascinated by the universe and space and always wondered what lies beyond our planet, then the best way to explore and learn about these unchartered territories is by watching space documentaries.
The best space documentaries allow you to travel the universe and discover the mind-boggling cosmos without leaving the comfort of your home.
Ready? Let’s get started…
Best Space Documentaries To Binge Watch: Short Summary
The universe is so vast that there is so much we must still learn about it.
If you’re a sci-fi buff and always wanted to travel to space or simply want to learn more about the universe, there is no need for you to get onto a spacecraft and set off on your exploration journey (which is rather difficult to do).
Fortunately, today, there is a fantastic repository of space documentaries that are both educational, as well as entertaining and offer amazing insight into the cosmos that exists way beyond the realms of Earth.
Here’s our curated list of the 14 best space documentaries that you can binge-watch with your family and friends.
Journey To The Edge Of The Universe (2008)
Released in 2008, Journey to the Edge of the Universe, narrated by Sean Pertwee (in the UK version) and Alec Baldwin (in the US version) is a wonderful depiction of a simulated journey into space from Earth.
The documentary film was created by using CGI graphics based on the images taken from the Hubble telescope.
The 1-hour and 35-minute space documentary offers a breath-taking look at what the universe looks like beyond the solar system.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014)
Hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the renowned astrophysicist, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is one of the best space documentaries around, which was released in 2014.
A follow-up to the famous 1980s documentary series, Cosmos, hosted by Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 13-episode series that has been produced by National Geographic and Fox.
Winner of 4 Emmy Awards after its broadcast in 2014, the documentary series is extremely informative and entertaining. It explains everything you ever wanted to know about the complex universe and space and keeps you riveted.
A must-see space documentary, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is the perfect sequel to the original Cosmos and is truly binge-watch worthy.
Alien Worlds (2020)
Narrated by Sophie Okonedo, Alien Worlds is a 4-part miniseries of 45 minutes each.
Released in 2020 on Netflix, this British sci-fi docu-fiction series uses CGI techniques, blending facts with sci-fi and hypothesizes the varied ways in which alien life could develop on imagined exoplanets.
The four episodes of the docu-series focus on 4 different exoplanets, i.e., Atlas, Janus, Eden and Terra.
And using the information about Earth and the rules that govern life on our planet, the docu-series follows astronomers, ecologists, astrobiologists, etc. and imagines life as it would be in these exoplanets that exist in other solar systems.
Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2017)
If you’re a space documentary lover, then you’re sure to enjoy Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo.
Released in 2017, the 101-minute documentary provides an in-depth view into the lives of the mission control experts whose tireless efforts have been instrumental in the Apollo missions.
It focuses on the behind-the-scenes work by combining footage from the archives and present-day interviews to show how the efforts of these men and women helped to make the Apollo missions successful 50 years ago.
NOVA: Blackhole Apocalypse (2018)
Premiered in 2018, NOVA: Blackhole Apocalypse is a very interesting space documentary about black holes.
Black holes have always been an enigma and these powerful light traps and gobblers of planets, stars and other cosmic bodies have been an endless source of fascination to humans.
In the 2-hour documentary, the astrophysicist and author Janna Levin delves in-depth and explains the science behind these space vacuums and how they work.
The documentary also has top astronomers and physicists explaining everything about black holes, their evolution, what’s inside them and how they affect galaxies and more.
The Planets (2019)
Hosted by Brian Cox, the renowned British physicist, The Planets is a 2019 documentary series consisting of 5 episodes of 58 minutes each.
In the documentary, Professor Brian Cox explores in-depth the history of the amazing planets of our solar system including their formation and development.
The series examines the various scientific hypotheses and theories pertaining to the evolution of the solar system that has been gained from various missions to the different planets.
The documentary tells you everything you want to know right from the “hot” Mercury to the icy-cold planets that are far away.
Produced by BBC Studios in partnership with Open University, the documentary has segments presented by Cox from different locations in the world along with footage from various space missions and extensive CGI and all these together make the space documentary truly outstanding.
The Last Man on the Moon (2014)
Released in 2014, The Last Man on the Moon is a biographical documentary that delves into the life of Gene Cernan who was part of the Apollo 17 mission to the moon in 1972.
Gene is famous for being the 11th person and one of the last humans to set foot on the moon, where he left his footprints and also wrote his daughter’s initials on the lunar dust.
The documentary combines archival footage along with fascinating visuals to narrate Gene’s story about his personal fulfillment, joy and sacrifice of being an astronaut.
The documentary is very interesting and offers plenty of interesting information about space flights and is truly worth binge watching.
The Mars Generation (2017)
The 97-minute Time Magazine-sponsored space documentary directed by Michael Barnett, The Mars Generation was released in 2017.
The documentary follows the lives of teenage space hopefuls at Space Camp in Alabama who are aspiring to travel to Mars.
The documentary explores the astronaut training the kids go through under the mentorship of experts, where they take part in drills, simulated deep-space missions, sit in mock spacecraft, etc. and prepare for travel to the red planet.
In the documentary, experts also discuss the history and future of NASA and also all that is required to make travel to Mars a reality.
Behind The Curve (2018)
Directed by Daniel Clark, the Behind The Curve documentary was released in 2018.
The film covers the ideas and theories of the prominent flat earther, Mark Sargent and other flat Earth members including Patricia Steere, Bob Knodel and Jeran Campanella, who believe that the Earth is flat.
It also features astrophysicists from Caltech and UCLA universities.
The documentary explores in-depth the varied dynamics within the flat Earth community and the discussions of the flat Earth advocates about their experimental approaches to prove their theory that the earth is flat.
It also features clips from the International Flat Earth Conference, which was held in 2017 in North Carolina and other meet-ups and conferences attended by the subjects of the film.
Death Dive to Saturn (2017)
The Death Dive to Saturn, released in 2017, is a space documentary that is based on Cassini, the mission launched by NASA in 2017 and arrived on the planet Saturn in 2004.
For 13 years, observed the ringed planet, sending back to Earth loads of scientific data and stunning images of the planet, its moons, rings, etc. that enabled scientists to study and discover everything about the gaseous planet before its ultimate descent into Saturn.
Before the mission came to a close, Cassini was to fly between Saturn and its rings to collect data and the documentary follows the Jet Propulsion Lab’s teams of scientists and astronomers who were responsible for this dangerous maneuver.
The Death Dive to Saturn documentary delves in-depth into Saturn and Cassini and all the interesting information about one of the most successful interplanetary missions.
Exoplanets: Thousands Of New Worlds (2019)
Released in 2019, the space documentary Exoplanets: Thousands Of New Worlds takes an outward look at the universe, where the scientists challenge traditional theories and reveal the existence of exoplanets.
Exoplanets are those that don’t emit any light and hide in the brilliant light of their home star, which makes it extremely difficult to detect these extra-terrestrial stars.
Today, exoplanet hunting has become extremely advanced and has moved away from methods of using the size and density of the planet to detect exoplanets to be able to capture images of these and also find out their chemical composition.
The Exoplanets: Thousands Of New Worlds series follows scientists who have developed tools, techniques and software that make exoplanet hunting and discovery very easy.
Challenger: The Final Flight (2020)
The Challenger: The Final Flight is a docu-series that has been created by Glen Zipper and Steven Leckart and was released in 2020.
The docu-series explores the tragic incident that occurred in 1986 involving Challenger, NASA’s space shuttle. The limited 4-part series of 45 minutes each, commemorates the 7 astronauts who died in the crash.
The documentary focuses on the space shuttle’s fatal crash and provides perspectives of the officials, engineers and families of the crew members of the ill-fated flight.
Black Holes: The Edge Of All We Know (2020)
If you’ve always been mystified by black holes and wanted to know more, then the space documentary, Black Holes: The Edge Of All We Know released in 2020 is a great binge-worthy watch.
The fascinating documentary gives in-depth information about what black holes are, explains the theories about black holes and also explores the black hole paradox.
The documentary also discusses the various tools and techniques being developed by scientists to study black holes and understand them.
Return to Space (2022)
An award-winning documentary film made by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelvi, Return to Space was released on Netflix in 2022.
The story of the film explores the 20-year journey of Elon Musk and SpaceX’s mission to send humans to space and revolutionize space travel.
The film records the challenges faced by the space flight company, SpaceX and the team of scientists, engineers and astronauts while they prepare for the historic rocket launch to the International Space Station.
It also explores the belief and motivations of Elon Musk and his team about the future of space exploration and what it means for humanity at large.
Featuring Elon Musk all through, the documentary has amazing footage of several failed launch attempts of SpaceX and the successful docking of Endeavor to the International Space Station.
If you’re a space buff, then Return to Space is a must-watch space documentary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Is The Best Space Documentary?
When you consider space documentaries and films, the best one really depends on what really interests you. The choice of the space documentary depends on whether you enjoy space explorations, star gazing, astronomy or if you want to learn all about planets, their formation and discovery.
There are thousands of space documentaries that cover various topics and you can check out the ones that interest you the most.
Do Space Documentaries Have Subtitles?
Yes, most of the space documentaries available on OTT platforms have subtitles in English to make it easier to understand the documentary. Many streaming platforms also offer subtitles in other languages that you can choose according to your preference. It has never been easier to learn all about the universe and space as it is today.
Do You Need to Pay To Watch Space Documentaries?
Whether the space documentary or film is free or paid for depends on where you’re watching it. If you’re watching the space documentary on an OTT platform such as Netflix, Amazon, etc., then you must pay a per-month subscription.
But if you’re watching the documentary or film on YouTube, you may be able to watch it for free, or you may need to pay a one-time fee to watch it.
So, that brings us to the end of our round-up of some of the top, binge-worthy space documentaries that any sci-fi and space lover will enjoy.
In our post, we have discussed some of the top and most compelling must-watch space documentaries and films that will definitely answer all the space-related questions that intrigue you.
These space documentaries are guaranteed to be informative, educational and entertaining in equal measure and give you insight into the space beyond and the wide universe.
And, after watching these documentaries, you’re sure to fall even more deeply in love with the universe and space.