Discovery to focus on dragons, mega builders, science fiction

MUMBAI: Dragons, mega builders and science fiction are just a few of the themes that Discovery will tackle over the coming months.

Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real airs on 6 August at 8 pm. This was a three year project. Scientific fact, CGI and special effects bring these creatures to life. This is basically a 'what if?' special.

Ruling a make-believe world of fantasy and fairy tales, these terrifying, winged predators never existed in real life – but what if they had? Computer-generated imagery from the same graphics company that created effects for Walking With Dinosaurs, Walking With Prehistoric Beasts and the latest Harry Potter movie provides a look at these creatures from the inside out.

Viewers will learn how dragons would have evolved into a number of different species through the ages – Prehistoric, Marine, Forest and Mountain Dragons – and how each dragon species was endowed with physical adaptations and behaviors specialized for its environment.

Viewers can also check out in vivo shots of each dragon's internal workings and learn the theoretical biology behind claims that these creatures were able to fly and breathe fire. Combining live action footage, natural history and state-of-the-art computer animation, the show will tack viewers on a journey through the annals of the fantastic past and an in-depth, scientific look at one of humankind's most storied foes.

Those keen on architecture can check out the six part show Mega Builders. Capturing the biggest, most complex, most stressful and most dangerous engineering projects around the world, Mega Builders chronicles awe-inspiring construction projects in the world and the engineering teams behind them. Viewers can watch as they attempt projects so enormous and challenging that one will be compelled to ask: how will they ever pull this off?

Dubai takes centrestage on 4 July with the episode Fantasy Islands Dubai. Off the coast of Dubai in the Gulf of Arabia, two mega-builders are pulling off one of the most ambitious feats of marine engineering the world has ever seen. In this episode, witness the creation of the world’s largest man-made islands – three artificial islands built in the shape of a palm tree – which will be the home to a luxurious future city of 100,000 people. When building an island, where do you even begin?

Canadian immigrant, Ali Mansour and New Zealander, David Smith have teamed up under the direction of Dubai’s property development company, Nakheel, to create this exclusive play land for the world’s wealthy elite. This episode follows the marine engineers as they manage a fleet of monster dredger ships and a convoy of mega-trucks moving 14 million tons of rocks to create the world’s longest breakwater. These enterprising engineers are designing the 50-km² islands to withstand earthquakes and they’ve built the breakwater to help protect the emerging islands against rough seas and erosion. If successful, their work will be instrumental as the tiny emirate re-invents itself as a tourist mecca for the super-rich.

The episode on 11 July is called Quake Proofing an Icon San Francisco. The challenges of building the new San Francisco Bay Bridge are immense as nothing like it has ever been built in a seismic zone; engineering a bridge that will bend but not break and creating a solid foundation out of a sea of mud.

World’s Fastest Wheels airs on 25 July 2006. Every weekend for the last seven years Ed Shadle, a fanatical speed racer; and Keith Zanghi, a retired IBM executive who races dragsters for fun, have pursued a very big dream: to build the most advanced racing car in the world. Their goal is simple: take their car, the North American Eagle, supersonic and annihilate the world land speed record – a mind-numbing 1,228 kilometres per hour: the speed of sound.

The pair of speedsters recruit experts in everything from parachutes to jet plane engines to build this extraordinary car – if you can really call it a car. Shadel and Zanghi ran with the improbable idea of transforming a jet plane into a jet car. After a four month search, the men found a surplus F-104 Starfighter fuselage and began the remarkable conversion. And as they worked, they discovered something amazing – under 15 layers of paint they uncovered the plane’s serial number: 763. This number, and the plane, had belonged to America’s most famous test pilot, Chuck Yager.

From 18-24 September 2006 Discovery will air a slew of shows under the name Sci Fi Zone. The shows look at H.G. Wells' explosive ideas and how The Matrix trilogy or Terminator 2 could become a reality in the future.

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