Are we alone in the universe? This question has plagued mankind for centuries, if not longer. Countless books, movies, and television shows have been released in as many years on the topic. Some have been scientific. Others have ranged more in the outlandish. Now, another program has been released on the topic in the form of NOVA’s two part episode, “Finding Life Beyond Earth.”
“Finding Life Beyond Earth” is one of the more scientific examinations at the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Rather than presenting outrageous theories, the program examines the elements needed for life to exist. That is, life as we humans know it. Those elements are an energy source, liquid, and the chemical building blocks needed to kick start life. The first hour of this special compares conditions and the elements of life on Earth to those of the other planets in the Milky Way galaxy. The discussion starts with a look at discoveries made by Cassini’s probe made on Saturn’s moon, Titan. The revelations made by those discoveries are the basis for so many discussions both inside and outside the classroom.
The second half hour of the program takes viewers to some of the planets’ moons. It examines Jupiter’s moons, Io and Europa, along with Saturn’s moon, Titan and one other. Comparisons between those moons and conditions on Earth raise just as many discussions as the discoveries made about the planets. Ultimately, the conclusion on whether or not life exists elsewhere in the universe is inconclusive. The purely scientific research is enough to justifiably wonder if this piece of science fiction will one day become science fact. “Finding Life Beyond Earth” is available on blu-ray and DVD now. It can be ordered online at http://www.shoppbs.org.
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