"Is the Earth the only planet of its kind in the universe? Or is there somewhere else like this out there? Is there life beyond Earth? The search for alien life is one of humankind's greatest technological challenges. And scientists are seeking new ways to find answers.
Leading the search are sophisticated telescopes that scan the sky and an armada of robotic [space] probes exploring the outer reaches of our solar system, all revealing the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets like never before. The search reveals evidence of strange and unexpected worlds, places with lakes, storms, and rain, violent places driven by powerful forces deep underground. Worlds that may have hidden oceans hundreds of millions of miles from the heat of the sun.
New [space] missions are helping to unlock the mysteries of what makes a planet habitable, raising the question of whether the building blocks of life [called amino acids] are more prevalent than previously imagined, not just in our own solar system but possibly throughout our Galaxy."
The above extract is found is what the narrator says at the beginning of the extraordinary documentary.
This film is made up of two parts. The first part and second part are separated by an "interlude" which occurs about 52 minutes into the program. Here is what the narrator says to introduce this second part:
"Are we alone in the universe? This age-old question is yielding some provocative new answers. Recent discoveries suggest that the conditions for life might be more prevalent than ever imagined.
Missions to our neighbour Mars are revealing evidence that [liquid] water, a key ingredient for life, may be present. And [space] probes are finding the essential chemical building blocks of life [called amino acids] in unexpected places.
But what about the colder, outer reaches of our solar system and beyond? Could life exist out here too? New [space] missions are revealing strange worlds, moons [of Jupiter and Saturn] that could have vast oceans concealed beneath miles of ice. Landscapes littered with hundreds of active volcanoes. And places where jets [of ice] erupt hundreds of miles into space.
And the same epic forces that gave birth to our solar system are at work throughout the universe. Tens of billions of planets are estimated to be orbiting other stars in our own Galaxy alone. Could there be an Earth-like planet among them?"
I want to emphasize that the majority of this documentary deals with possible life in our solar system. It is only the last chapter that deals with possible life beyond our solar system.
Realize that life does not have to be big like elephants but can be small like microbes. Life does not have to be "as we know it." As well, life does not have to be intelligent.
Throughout this documentary brief comments are made by scientists.
The computer graphics are just fantastic. And the actual space-probe images that are shown are revealing and mind-boggling.
Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2012) is perfect in picture and audio quality. It has no extras.
In conclusion, after viewing this film, you will be convinced that there must be life in the universe!!!
(2011; 1 hr, 45 min; wide screen; 12 chapters; made for PBS--NOVA)