NASA-Kennedy

Filmmaker Rory Kennedy appears during the creation of her new documentary, “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow,” premiering Saturday night on the Discovery Channel.

Is space still the place? “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow” (8 p.m., Discovery) examines the history of NASA and the ways its exploration of outer space has increased our understanding of our place in the universe while at the same time expanding our appreciation of the unique and fragile nature of our home planet.

Filled with awe-inspiring footage of Earth from space and computer-generated visions of spacecraft on far-flung planets and racing toward an interstellar void, “Tomorrow” celebrates the engineers and visionaries who have continued NASA’s mission for six decades.

Like any retrospective, it makes one wonder if NASA will ever return to the glory days of its first 10 years.

After Apollo 11 put a man on the moon in 1969, interest in the space race plummeted.

Spectacular unmanned trips to distant planets and the International Space Station have come and gone in the past half-century.

Satellites, the focus of NASA’s first efforts, are now thought of as the hardware that make our smartphone communication possible.

Technology once thought unimaginable has become as exciting as plumbing.

The film is produced and narrated by filmmaker Rory Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and the niece of John F. Kennedy, the president who put America on the way to the moon way back in 1961.

So even a film called “NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow” cannot escape a backward glance.

Other highlights

  • Michigan hosts Wisconsin in college football action (6:37 p.m., ABC).
  • The Earth moves on “9-1-1” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
  • Jackson nurtures a kitty whose littermate has bullied her on “My Cat From Hell” (7 p.m., Animal Planet, TV-PG).
  • More than a contract unravels when “The Sinister Surrogate” (7 p.m., Lifetime, TV-14) won’t surrender a couple’s baby.
  • “Love & Hate Crime” (9 p.m., ID, TV-14) recalls a gruesome case in Mississippi.
  • Seth Meyers returns to host “Saturday Night Live” (10:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14), featuring musical guest Paul Simon.

Series notes

Sara needs Gibbs’ help on “NCIS” (7 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... Two helpings of “Dateline” (7 p.m. and 8 p.m., NBC) ... The one that got away on “Magnum P.I.” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... “48 Hours” (9 p.m., CBS) ... A vintage helping of “Saturday Night Live” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).