(8x20) Sol Resurgent: Part 1, Episode 2
The discovery of apparent life on Venus kicks the Columbian space program into overdrive. Rocketry technology begins rapid development, because after failing to detect any kind of coherent radio signals from distant Venus, the plan has been hatched to launch a space probe to observe Venus and transmit photographs back to Earth. This advance in rocketry itself increases the world's political tensions, even though it is being conducted for unrelated reasons, because of other technological and political developments that have been occurring meanwhile, and when the probe itself is finally launched it nearly causes an international incident until it's confirmed that the rocket is escaping Earth orbit.
In response to the growing opposition by a united Pacifica and Alexandria, Columbia has begun to redevelop nuclear weapons, claiming them as a deterrent against the "warlike rest of the world" teaming up to crush their "peaceful society". But Pacifica and Alexandria, with their preserved knowledge of the ancient world, have always known on paper how to build nuclear weapons, and simply lacked the industry, and the will, to do so. But now, to deter Columbia, they feel forced to start building their own, even against Metis' advice. Pacifica is first to start their development, which in turn makes Alexandria feel potentially threatened by them in addition to Columbia, and begin their own nuclear development, causing Pacifica to look on them with suspicion as well.
As the world inches toward the brink of nuclear armageddon, disappointing news comes back from the successful Venusian space probe. They find that Venus is not in fact inhabited... by any organic persons. Instead, the robots who long ago before the fall were tasked with terraforming the planet have continued to do so after the fall of human civilization, and they appear to be the only inhabitants of the planet today, and unresponsive to radio communication.
Next: Sol Resurgent: Part 1, Episode 3