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NOVA: Finding Life Beyond Earth

Airs Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: View of W. M. Keck Observatory at sunset, summit of Mauna Kea, Island of Hawaii.

Explore the science behind the headlines in PBS’ premier science series. With compelling stories and spectacular visuals, NOVA programs demystify science and technology for viewers of all ages and spotlight people involved in scientific pursuits.

Planetary Science Division Director, James Green, at NASA Headquarters.
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Above: Planetary Science Division Director, James Green, at NASA Headquarters.

Cassini Imaging team leader, Carolyn Porco, describes what it would be like to stand on the surface of Enceladus.
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Above: Cassini Imaging team leader, Carolyn Porco, describes what it would be like to stand on the surface of Enceladus.

Tour The Solar System

Explore the planets, visit the moon, and gaze at the stars in this 3-D interactive model of the solar system.

“Finding Life Beyond Earth” - Scientists are on the verge of answering one of the greatest questions in history: Are we alone? Combining the latest telescope images with dazzling CGI, “Finding Life Beyond Earth” immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while top astrobiologists explain how these places are changing how we think about the potential for life in our solar system.

We used to think our neighboring planets and moons were fairly boring — mostly cold, dead rocks where life could never take hold. Today, however, the solar system looks wilder than we ever imagined. Powerful telescopes and unmanned space missions have revealed a wide range of dynamic environments — atmospheres thick with organic molecules, active volcanoes and vast saltwater oceans.

This ongoing revolution is forcing scientists to expand their ideas about what kinds of worlds could support life. If we do find primitive life forms elsewhere in the solar system, it may well be that life is common in the universe — the rule, and not the exception.

Past episodes of NOVA are available for online viewing. NOVA is on Facebook, and you can follow @novapbs on Twitter.

Video

NOVA: Finding Life Beyond Earth