Alien Earths

2009, Science  -   51 Comments

Alien EarthsJoin leading astronomers on a visual journey beyond our solar system in search of planets like Earth.

Using CGI animation, we’ll explore bizarre worlds that stretch our imagination: planets with iron rain and hot ice, with diamonds everywhere, and endless oceans of gas.

Planets with abnormal orbital patterns and planets with no pattern at all that drift alone in the Milky Way. Planets so strange we never could have predicted them before. Could life exist there?

In the search for another Earth, astronomers hope to discover other terrestrial planets. These bodies may have a rocky terrain and may even hold water on their surfaces.

The most Earth-like planet discovered thus far is Gliese 581c, which orbits near the area known as the habitable zone.

This elusive zone, also called the "Goldilocks Zone," lies between the star and its planets, and may allow life to survive—it is not too hot and not too cold—on the surface of a planet.

Ratings: 8.15/10from 26 users.

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51 Comments / User Reviews

  1. James Tod

    Ocean world just need fish , a few plants , microalgae and sun light .

  2. cheese81

    Lots of stuff I have heard before, lots I haven't, lots of bright lights shining in my eyes (that pulsar hurt). Good doc.

  3. emenez

    the possibilities are limitless

  4. Paul Brickey

    American style docus with their sensational music and narration annoy me.

    1. AlphaO

      Stop being a big baby.

  5. g isaac

    This is very interesting!

  6. Kyiani

    Disassembling and Re-assembling matter is what I'm leaning towards. Exciting. Even if it truly is impossible, we won't know UNTIL we've tried and failed, so simply saying impossible isn't smart. Cloning was 'impossible' to some people before, now we're able to turn inanimate CHEMISTRY and chemical atoms and molecules into ANIMATE, self-replicating BIOLOGY cells and organisms. THIS is way past cloning. This means we can start life on a barren planet suitable for life from scratch without needing the work of nature and cosmos. Give appropriate reasons for saying something is impossible. Be skeptical, it's healthy, for as long as you don't hinder your own capacity for knowledge advancement and humanity's and science's as a whole.

    1. UniversalCypher

      i agree with what you say, but im thinking that skepticism isnt exactly the correct aim. the road towards discovering truth isnt traveled through doubting the truth. as humans we tend to use the word "impossible" to explain what we cant achieve now. now, of course, even represents a past now, because at one point, it actually was impossible to clone. it isnt skepticism that denies this truth and carries it into the realm of possibilities - its our innate human ability to further our search for the ultimate truths as our civilization advances.

    2. Someguy

      There's a difference between skepticism and nihilism. A skeptic has no qualms with accepting proven things as true.

  7. Kyiani

    If I'm not mistaken, we currently have the ability to send or "carry" information or "data" through light (say laser for instance). I think such may be computing through light signals and fiber optics. If this is currently past the realm of human capacity, then I think it's only time and effort that's the obstacle before we're able to "send" or "carry", not information or data, but MATTER and MASS through light, thus achieving exactly, 100.00% light speed. From what little knowledge I have of Einstien and Relativity, E=MC^2 would permit and make this possible. Naive thinking, but turning matter into energy is exactly what I'm talking about. Exactly HOW we'll do that is a battle for someone else. Hope I'm a spectator, though.

    1. Kevin McChesney

      Yes we do hav light data trancefer did it in collage. Most are like what ur remote dos and there in no reason that it would not work very far away the brighter ther farther.

  8. Frostbeard

    This stuff is totally possible. It will just take time, and we don't spend enough money on it.
    Americans prefer military and weapons spending over scientific exploration. When we could have Mars bases and beyond by now.
    However their are studies going on which defy conventional physics. Such as the bending and stopping of light, the speed of light has already been broken by sending light backwards (or something like that I can't recall the exact method).
    They are also able to teleport single atoms from one end of a room to another in an instant.

  9. Achems Razor

    It would still take the person that is travelling at near light speed 100 years to travel 100 light years. Time would appear to be slowing down to the observer, or even stopping, but to the one travelling everything would still be normal.

    An to top it off even at near light speed light would still travel at 186,000 miles per sec. from all sources.

  10. just-the-tip

    well the cool thing about light speed is...... its impossible. We can only go 99.99% the speed of light, the laws of nature and physics stricktly forbid going the speed of light, but if you go at 99.99% light speed times moves slower in relation. In a steven hawking doc he explains that if you go 99.99% the speed of light, what you persieve as one day while going that speed would be equal to one year. So to send a person say 100 light years away would take less than a year to the person traveling, so you would be able to essentialy go in to the future, but you would never be able to go back, quite a paradox if there ever was one, but he also talks of worm holes, essentially instant teleportation, but who know if we could ever predict how to control the destinations of it let alone the date

    1. David Stegen

      agree'd with this post the most out of all of em lol :P

  11. Alisha


    Stupider, is not a word.

    1. mick4361

      If a person can say it and another can understand it, the speaker has successfully communicated. Language was used a long time before the dictionary.

  12. E’Noch

    Too bad I got your money and you got my junk!!!
    I hate flash!
    I hate USB!!!
    I hate multitasking!!!
    I though LOVE to make people wait for the next version for things that are standard on other computers and phones!!!
    You bought my junk now deal with it!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! :-P

  13. ARMO

    Great documentary, shame mine didn't work full-screen but still was amazing to watch. Used for my English assignment and i recommend for anyone to watch. :) thanks heaps!

  14. Eric

    Absolutly great!
    My mind sticked on the theoritical planet orbiting the pulsar :)

  15. ez2b12

    Can somone explain to me how to set the resolution correctly on the youtube player. I set it for 360 as I have a slower connection but everytime it swaps to the next segment the resolution goes to 720 and I have to get up and switch it back to 360. This is very aggravating as I can't just lay back and watch i have to get up and set the res every time it goes to the next segment.

    I tried going into play back settings and choosing the option that says, "I have a slower connection never play at high res unless specified." But it seems to be stuck on the one that says to set the res according to my player size. When I look the right one is chosen and it saves this but it doesn't actually do this, it picks the best one for my display size which is 720 I suppose (36" plasma display on full screen). The reaosn I cant watch at 720 is it buffers constantly and ruins the experience.

  16. Zakee


    You're welcome :). I'm surprised this guy doesn't have a ton more subscribers than the ones he already has.

  17. WTC7

    @ ez2b12

    Yep, that would be the general idea - perigee & apogee are normally used for objects orbiting around the Earth (not just the Moon, but satellites too). Here is what I found in Wikipedia, as a reference (sorry if occasionally the terms appear a bit off the grid):

    Body Closest approach Farthest approach
    General Periapsis/Pericentre Apoapsis
    Galaxy Perigalacticon Apogalacticon
    Star Periastron Apastron
    Black hole Perimelasma/Peribothra/Perinigricon Apomelasma/Apobothra/Aponigricon
    Sun Perihelion Aphelion
    Mercury Perihermion Apohermion
    Venus Pericytherion/Pericytherean/Perikrition Apocytherion/Apocytherean/Apokrition
    Earth Perigee Apogee
    Moon Periselene/Pericynthion/Perilune Aposelene/Apocynthion/Apolune
    Mars Periareion Apoareion
    Jupiter Perizene/Perijove Apozene/Apojove
    Saturn Perikrone/Perisaturnium Apokrone/Aposaturnium
    Uranus Periuranion Apouranion
    Neptune Periposeidion Apoposeidion
    Pluto Perihadion Apohadion

  18. ez2b12

    @ Wtc7

    Thanks man I believe you have it. Its really neat that you posted the orgins of the word as well. When you say that perigee means around earth, does it then follow that the words perigee and apogee should only be used in respect to the moon? I ask because I am just getting into this atronomy thing and I do not want to sound foolish or stupid when i talk about it.

  19. Achems Razor


    That's a great link you gave, have bookmarked it.

  20. WTC7

    @ ez2b12,

    My dictionary says the following:

    The point nearest to a star in the path of a body orbiting the star.

    ORIGIN: mid 19th cent.: from PERI- (around) + Greek ASTRON (star), on the pattern of PERIGEE (around Earth) & PERIHELION (around Sun).

    Either of two points on the orbit of a planet or satellite that are nearest to or furthest from the body around which it moves.

  21. Reasons voice

    Too Short!! TY again Vlatko for giving me a needed break from the daily grind. Keep up the good work.

  22. Reasons voice

    Special effects floored me in the first 30 seconds this will be a pleasuer to watch. report back after enjoyment.

  23. c2believe

    Really enjoyable program :)

  24. hawkpork

    Zakee or Ez2b12,

    can either of you please tell me who's playlists you are referring to supply a link even?

  25. hawkpork

    good doc.
    great special effects, they really made it for me.

    i realize there's plenty of "pure conjecture" in this. but for some reason i wasn't bothered by it as much as in the series narrated by Mr freeman.

    i guess i was swayed by the awesome graphics and the fact that it didn't cover such a broad range of conjecture.

  26. Pyr8nvntr

    to Dream is the inevitability of mankind, no ideas will be subdued here

  27. Lori George Alexander

    What a interesting documentary. I really enjoyed it. I thought the special effects were great. There were many points to consider and have fun with. It was well worth the time and effort to view it.

  28. tigerspaw

    Interesting documentary. But another loaded with might Be's,could Be's, could have's. I list these as scientific based fiction. Before you all start bashing my point of view the doc has many scientifically PROVEN FACTS, but also much PURE CONJECTURE.

    Thanks Vlatko

  29. Insomniac

    Doc is very interesting but these tend to have poor wording which often loses me. ex.: "The discovery of pulsar planets shows that (...)" The word WOULD is missing from that statement. This is just theory.

  30. ez2b12

    @ Achem

    Hmm, that still isnt making sence to me. Probably because i am not that bright but still. I saw this term in the orbital specs of Gliesa 581 C, not a binary star system. If you click on the hypertext above that says Gliesa 581 C and then scroll down about half way under orbital elements you will see the term periastron with a q and then two values beside it. If you then click on periastron it then redirects you to the definition of apsis.

    In fact the term periastron is used several times in the orbital elements specs. I am trying to start astronomy as a hobby, just bought a new telescope last week. I have a lot to learn though man. it's much more complicated and fun than I ever thought. Any way i am trying to learn this stuff so i can record my own observations in a professional way. I should probably start with something more basic than this though. Like what is the correct way to give the coordinates of a heavenly body. Can anyone help me thier, Ill get to the periastron thing later.

  31. Achems Razor

    I looked it up, in a binary star system, each star moves around the other in an elliptical orbit. The point of closest approach between the star, is called the periastron. This position is the same as the periapsis of the orbit, but specifically refers to orbits around other stars.
    The point of maximum separation between the two stars is the apastron.
    Whatever the h*ll that means.

  32. Randy


    That is an excellent question, my friend. The answer, I think, is that the internet is stupider than you are... LOL!

    I mean, I love YouTube, although it is FULL of crazy and I love love LOVE this site, (my favorite on the web, actually...)

    But mostly-- not very bright people are running the web...

    Recently, the FCC just gave up on talks that were trying to enforce internet neautrality... that means very stupid rich guys will be controlling what you see on the web soon...

    ^shrug^ I have a huge library of books... what the hell are ya gonna do? You know?

  33. ez2b12

    I'm sorry- when looking at a planets orbital specs- is what i meant to say.

  34. ez2b12

    Heres a question for all you astronomy buffs. Why when I look the word periastron up do i get redirected to the word apsis? Do they mean the same thing? And if so why not say See apsis like they usually do insted of just redirecting me to apsis. I mean they do not even tell you how to pronouce periastron or give a definiton or use it context, its like they are saying the word is no longer used or something.

    The definition of apsis is the point of greatest or least distance of a body from one of the foci of its elliptical orbit. But when looking at a stars specs you see periastron has the letter q then two values beside it. I am assuming the two values are the distance from the center of the central star to the planet at apogee and perigee but, what is the letter q all about? Besides the definition of apsis says "one of the foci" as if thier are more than one per system. How can a orbital system have more than one center?
    I am confused here obviousely.

  35. ez2b12

    @ Zakee

    Tahnks man I didn't even know you could do that,access a playlist built by another you tube user. I didn't know you could build a play list of your own either- until now. This makes youtube, previousely a site I did not care for, a great site for me. I didn't like having to sift through all the bs to find something i liked and then when i would find it- it would turn out to be like a clip insted of the whole show or a preview or even worse a veoh vid that cuts off and wants you too download the veoh player which I am scared to do as every time I download something like this I get all these tool bars added to IE and add/spy ware infestations. Any way thanks for turning me on to this solution. You are right this guy has some great docs to watch.

  36. Zakee Shaikh

    Check out this guys other playlists. Tons of excellent videos!

  37. Achems Razor

    A very interesting and up to date doc.

  38. Gibbo

    Wish I could watch it on my iPad.

  39. Randy

    OH! Ok, this one I am very excited about!

    Thank you, Vlatko... I can't wait to watch it...

    (It will have to be later as I am having horrible computer problems with one of my networks...)

    But, anyway, yes, this look AWESOME!

  40. farhan

    i can see the video! help

  41. fesco

    @gnar:"Warp speed" or "wormhole travel" won't be possible for a couple thousands years if not million's of years - you need a class three civilization to achieve that sort of technology and right now earth is a class zero civilization. Our best bet is matter anti-matter spaceships that could reach up 10% the speed of light.

  42. Insomniac

    The speed of light is too slow. Intergalactic travel would be more about temporarely "reducing" the space between 2 points rather then travelling it all.

    @Gnar: Impossible is an impossible word. Before saying things defy physics perhaps we should define physics correctly.

  43. Gnar

    True but unless we learn to defy physics then warp speed is impossible. I would still love to see other earths discovered in my lifetime.

  44. dustin

    Flying in air was a dream once..............

  45. Greywall

    Without the ability of travel at the speed of light, all these imaginations would remain a dream. Pity.