Hacking the Apocalypse: Your new guide to surviving the end of the world

If the apocalypse is coming, are we doomed to die? Or could technology help us survive? CNET's Claire Reilly is on the case to find out.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
Expertise Space | Futurism | Robotics | Tech Culture | Science and Sci-Tech Credentials
  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
4 min read
Andy Altman/CNET

Can a missile bunker protect you from a nuclear blast? Can an escape pod save you from a megatsunami? Could we put our bodies into cryosleep to avoid the apocalypse altogether? 

From July 6, CNET is bringing you Hacking the Apocalypse, a new six-part series looking at high-tech solutions to escape the end of the world. 

In each episode, I take you to meet everyone from preppers to pandemic experts, and I'll road test some fascinating tech that could save the world. Plus, you can check out the accompanying stories, covering what you need to know about the end of the world. 

How to Watch on YouTube and CNET

The six-part series launches on CNET's YouTube Channel on Monday, July 6, with a new episode every day. 

You can also watch the full series on CNET from July 6. Check out our Hacking the Apocalypse landing page to see all the episodes and take a deep dive into each ep with stories and behind-the-scenes galleries. And read on to see the full series rundown below.

How to Watch on Pluto TV

You can also watch Hacking the Apocalypse on the CNET channel on Pluto TV, channel 684. 

  • July 6 at 5 and 8 p.m. PT -- Episodes 1, 2 & 3 
  • July 7 at 5 and 8 p.m. PT -- Episodes 4, 5 & 6 
  • July 11 at 9 a.m., noon, and 5 and 8 p.m. PT -- Episodes 1, 2 & 3  
  • July 11 at 9:45 a.m., and 12:45, 5:45 and 8:45 p.m. PT -- Episodes 4, 5 & 6 
  • July 12 at 8:15 and 11:15 a.m., and 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. PT -- Episodes 1, 2 & 3  
  • July 12 at 9 a.m., noon, and 5 and 8 p.m. PT -- Episodes 4, 5 & 6


Enlarge Image

Hacking the Apocalypse host Claire Reilly at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.

John Kim/CNET

When we first started filming Hacking the Apocalypse, long before the coronavirus pandemic, I asked one of the world's top health experts whether a "mutant bat influenza" could catch us off-guard. Little did we know how prophetic that moment would be. The experts warned us, and they were right. In 2020, we've faced a once-in-a-century pandemic and seen what happens when a global health emergency plays out in real time. 

For our first episode in this series, we visit the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia to learn about the last major pandemic we faced (it wasn't pretty) and speak to the leading public health experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security about how we battle a pandemic in the 21st century.

But the big innovation? We speak to scientists in Tennessee who are researching human immunity to help us fight the coronavirus, and to a team of researchers finding life-saving drugs using the world's most powerful supercomputer. 

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Pandemic on July 6. 

Nuclear Winter

How long would we survive if the whole planet went into a full-scale nuclear winter? We travel to Boulder, Colorado, to learn the science behind nuclear winter with an atmospheric scientist and nuclear expert, professor Brian Toon. 

Then we head into the heartland of Kansas (we can't tell you where) to visit a real-life nuclear bunker, made for the world's richest preppers. Turns out avoiding nuclear winter doesn't mean sacrificing luxury.

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Nuclear Winter on July 6. 

Global Drought

Droughts in California, catastrophic fires in Australia -- the impacts of climate change are only going to get worse. In this episode, we learn about the real threat of global drought, before visiting a lab in New York to learn how scientists could turn toxic waste into drinking water. 

Then it's off to New Jersey to visit Bowery Farming, a company that's created a space-age vertical farm, inside a warehouse, to grow food with 90% less water. 

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Global Drought on July 7. 


The coast off the Pacific Northwest is a hot zone for catastrophic earthquakes, so what better place to test out a tsunami survival pod? In this episode, we speak to one of the world's leading seismological experts to find out just what happens when the Earth shakes, before heading to Seattle to road test (or should that be water test?) a tiny escape pod that could save us from tsunami devastation. 

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Tsunami on July 8.


If the end of the world is coming, could we cheat death by putting our bodies into stasis? To answer that question, we visit the facilities of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a company promising a second life in the future through the power of cryonics. Delving into the murky world of cryonics is fascinating (and a little haunting). While the hope of escaping death might sound promising, the scientific proof leaves a lot to be desired. 

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Cryonics on July 9.

This 3D-printed Mars habitat could be your new home in space

See all photos

Escape the Planet

If the s--- really hits the fan, could we just bypass the apocalypse and escape the planet altogether? In our final episode of Hacking the Apocalypse, we visit NASA and learn about the space agency's bid to get humans back on the moon and on to Mars. And to get a sense of what life will look like once we've become a multi-planetary species, we talk to the team behind Marsha, a 3D-printed Mars habitat that could be our new home on the red planet. 

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Escape the Planet on July 10.

Watch this: Hacking the Apocalypse trailer