NOVA: Finding Life Beyond Earth
Airs Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 3 p.m. on KPBS TV
Monday, October 17, 2011
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.
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.