Encounters with the Alien Other

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Alien Planets Revealed
Part of the Series: NOVA
It's a golden age for planet hunters: NASA's Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun. Some of them, like a planet called Kepler-22b, might even be able to harbor life. How did we come upon this distant planet? Combining startling animation with input…
Aliens
Part of the Series: Seven Wonders of the Solar System
In Aliens, Brian descends to the bottom of the Pacific in a submarine to witness the extraordinary life forms that survive in the cold, black waters. All life on Earth needs water so the search for aliens in the solar system has followed the search for water. Soaring above the…
The Search for Life on Exoplanets
Join the quest for life on exoplanets, focusing on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI)--a hunt for signals from alien civilizations inspired by a landmark paper in 1959. See how the famous Drake equation points to factors that determine how many such civilizations may exist.
SETI: Astronomy as a Contact Sport - with Jill Tarter of The Center for SETI Research
Jill Tarter is a passionate astronomer who has long guided SETI's research program of searching for alien signals. Despite having heard nothing so far, Jill is unbowed, enthusiastically telling us how SETI uses modern technology to listen carefully to the heavens with increasingly greater efficiency.
Chasing Pluto
Part of the Series: NOVA
On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft, one of the most advanced ever built, is scheduled to fly by Pluto to take the very first detailed images of the dwarf planet. After nine years and 3 billion miles, we will finally get a close look at this strange, icy…
The Visit: An Alien Encounter
The Visit documents humanity's first encounter with intelligent life from another world. Filmmaker Michael Madsen interviews experts who work for little-known departments and agencies inside NASA, the United Nations, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, England's Ministry of Defense and others who are responsible for preparing for mankind's response to…
The Spaceship as a Science Fiction Icon
Science fiction is known for distinguishing elements: artificial intelligence, time travel, aliens, outer space, and more. Delve into one of the more iconic components of science fiction--the spaceship. Learn how the spaceship is portrayed in some of the most famous stories, as well as lesser-known works. Consider how stories of…
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter
Episode 2 of Experiencing Hubble
Shortly after its optics were repaired, Hubble had the opportunity to observe the solar system event of the century: the collision of a string of comets with Jupiter in 1994. Examine Hubble's stunning image of the aftermath of this crash.
Long-Term Future Planet-Finding Projects
Peer into the future at ambitious projects that may one day succeed in collecting light directly from an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a nearby star. Examine three different engineering approaches: the coronagraph, interferometer, and starshade.
The Next Revolution
Survey the greatest unsolved problem in theoretical physics: the search for a quantum theory of gravity. Examine string theory, loop quantum gravity, and also entropic gravity, which suggests a revolutionary link with thermodynamics. Close the course with a deepened appreciation for the connection between everyday features of gravity and the…
The Cat's Eye Nebula: A Stellar Demise
Episode 5 of Experiencing Hubble
Turning from star birth to star death, get a preview of the sun's distant future by examining the Cat's Eye Nebulae. Such planetary nebulae (which have nothing to do with planets) are the exposed debris of dying stars and are among the most beautiful objects in the Hubble gallery.
Earthlike Planets
Begin your search for planets that may harbor life by studying the conditions that make Earth habitable, including its distance from the Sun, surface temperature, atmosphere, and oceans. Then examine strategies for finding earthlike planets and the progress to date.