Through The Wormhole: Are We Alone?

2010, Science  -   51 Comments

Through The Wormhole: Are We Alone?Aliens almost certainly do exist. So why haven't we yet met E.T.? It turns out we're only just developing instruments powerful enough to scan for them, and science sophisticated enough to know where to look. As a result, race is on to find the first intelligent aliens.

But what would they look like, and how would they interact with us if we met? The answers may come to us sooner than we imagine, for one leading astronomer believes she may already have heard a hint of their first efforts to communicate.

Of all the signals received in the search for intelligent extraterrestrials, the Wow! signal is one that many people remember. And Jerry Ehman was the man who wrote it. Ehman taught astronomy and electrical engineering at Ohio State University and worked on early projects for Big Ear, a radio telescope at the university.

These telescopes collect radio waves from space. Because cosmic radio waves are weak, the telescope collecting dishes have to be large, more than three football fields long in Big Ear's case.

Ohio State let Ehman go after cutting Big Ear’s funding. Undeterred, he came back to Big Ear as a volunteer. Two colleagues helped Ehman. Without John Kraus, who conceived of the telescope, Big Ear wouldn’t have been listening.

Robert Dixon, Kraus’s former student, designed Big Ear's search plan, choosing the radio wavelength to listen to, and he corrected the listening to account for our galaxy’s spin. Without Dixon’s correction, Big Ear would have listened to the wrong wavelength.

This is the sixth episode. See the list of all episodes here: Through The Wormhole.

Watch the full documentary now. Available only in United States.

Ratings: 6.92/10from 37 users.

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51 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rampage

    "Blocking every damn video because it violates copy write laws." To that I say that in response I refuse to purchase anything that is restricted from being freely viewed everywhere. Take your anti intelligence copy write bullshat and fade out with evolution, because we are better than that, and therefore better than some stupid plutocratic control from some "lucky" random 1% of humanity. Give me the ability to do it, and ill go make educational documentaries all day and put them on here for free. Capitalism was great for awhile, but technoism should now replace it, and monetary systems are like religions.. ancient and for scared ignorant fools.

  2. Lewis Collins

    Thats right Morgain it will change profoundly how we look at ourselves and the cosmos..when ET life is identified.....forget nasa thats a joke...a great tax waste of public and religious systems will collapse.....when will people get their think head around this....its not rocket science...

  3. Lewis Collins

    Yes the religious communities and govts on this planet like to keep us strangled within the financial system......we must keep paying that we well know this is the only planet that we have been born on that we must pay to live.....quite an well placed scam we might say..apes have not evolved but at some point our DNA has had a little helping hand we can say...fasinating stuff....find that matching frequency then another world opens..they have been here for thousands of years........invisible to our eyesight frequency...

  4. Ste

    I say you are wrong Pierre Harris, wrong, wrong, wrong.

    So wrong in fact I shan't even attempt to correct your flawed logic.

    Good day sir !

    1. MFD

      Actually Pierre Harris' logic is spot on.

  5. sojourner712

    To answer "why haven't we heard from them (aliens)," if I were an alien I would have no contact with the human race as the human race is self destructive and only imagines violence as an answer to anyone unknown to us as we imagine they have come to do violence to us... don't believe me look at the movie's we create involving aliens, with the exception of a few we always imagine that the aliens came to conquer us, to take what we have which is nothing to beings that can cross light years of space to contact us or all we can think of is the technology that we could steal from them as we, in comparison are very, very primitive and ignorant of their level of technology! Besides, how do we know aliens have not contacted us or live among us... what would you call the angles, messengers, sent to individuals long ago in biblical times?

  6. Benjamin Clarkson

    If a super nova (something that happens in a galaxy every hundred years or so) is observable hundreds of times a night in any dime shaped area in the sky (see Laurence Krauss's Universe from nothing lecture) and that there are a finite array of amino acids that can happen, allowing for chemistry that makes up our cells to be very common (see the embryology chapter in the greatest show on earth for more), then I see no reason why the universe will not be thriving with life.
    Organic chemistry like ours gets manufactured every second all over our galaxy and pumped into space, and then forms into new planets. They've already confirmed an earthlike planet with liquid water 600 lightyears away. We are far from alone on our little island.
    We just have to pay attention to our climate, be aware of our primitive urges, and not destroy ourselves. Let's not ok?

  7. Jean-Claude Lafond

    If there is no other intelligent life forms in our galaxy... I say it's the biggest cosmic joke... of what a waste of space and creation to have only (us)!!!????... We can't even get rid of slavery on this planet...and we kill our environment over profit... that sounds more like a horrible depressing science fiction film to be alone in the Universe .... I would hope that our Creator didn't stick with only us as a creation because I would have thrown in the towel long ago on humanity... lazy thinkers we are... LOL

  8. Teklu Teklay

    We people living on Earth are in a continuous war and crimes against each other. One nation is trying to destroy the other. However the same human beings are busy searching for alien creatures in the universe. I don't see the significance of this search before humans start to living peacefully on earth. I am sure if humans find some alien creatures somewhere else then we will try to control and destroy them if they are weaker than us. But on the other hand if the aliens are more advanced than humans then we will engage in a devastating war until we all die. So Please human beings know how to live with love and peace on this planet before going for a search to alien creatures elsewhere.

  9. Michael Danger Gee

    i think it our duty to rise up, put our differences aside with the aim of massively improving our capabilities, and then spread life to other planets. Spread it throughout the whole universe. We should also colonize other planets/moons/solar systems as we are to vulnerable stuck here on earth. Too many eggs in one basket. There needs to be a new revolution, that castes aside our current methods of government and unite to focus on this sole task!

    1. James Colwell

      very logical, but not very plausible.

  10. deangrevitt

    aren't there enough programs about UFO sightings already? I like this one coz it actually explores what else we're doing to look for ET life.

  11. Stargazer53

    I dont know why Mr Freeman does not mention the many
    UFO sightings every year on Earth.If that is not a sign of
    intelligent life I dont know what is.However it is a good

    1. Benjamin Clarkson

      Erm, UFO sightings should produce some evidence. Otherwise why don't we talk about crying statues of the virgin Mary while we're at it?

  12. Winston Smith

    The evidence the scientist at the end claims we're lacking (w/re the possibility of extraterrestrial life) is how prolific life is here on earth

  13. sunil kumar

    May be......May be.......May be.........May be..........

  14. Dado9009

    Daft to think otherwise, good doc.

  15. Eric Robinson

    Perhaps we are not very intelligent!

    1. deangrevitt

      if there's one thing this series has taught me, it's that I'm not

  16. Shahrokh Khademipour

    They always mention we haven't found any other life-form except the one on earth... they say the only example we have is 1... the earth itself... My view is that 1 is enough example... 1 itself should be the proof... you gotta look at it this way... life either doesn't occur at all, or if it occurs once, it should and will occur many times as well...

    1. Fahd Chaudhry

      And If you saw the previous video in this series you'll see they may have discovered another life form on this planet who's different RNA composition makes it not fit into our 'tree of life'. So if that's true, what are the chances of two different types of life forms being on ONE planet, yet the rest of the universe is empty. Close to impossible.

  17. Hey You

    Can someone tell Mr. F about the british UFO disclosures, and the many others(mexico incident comes to mind) etc, etc. I wish someone would marry all aspects of this topic and start to make sense of it all, instead of being afraid of what we would find. Seriously, how can one ignore the release of government disclosures, and then say that we have no proof, none at all. There is some proof! It might be indirect proof, none the less, what other proof does one need! I surely don't expect them to drop in for coffee on saturday morning. And if they do, i should have enough cups, lol.


  18. tupes

    @ BuckOhFive4Freedom

    Interesting theory, but genetic and molecular studies of fungi fit them nicely into the tree of life here on Earth. They are actually more closely related to animals than plants. The difference between animals and fungi is that while we run, swim, or fly around to stick things into our intestines, a fungus basically expands its intestines, absorbing nutrients from whatever food they bump into. Also:

    "And if you don't pay your buck oh five, who will? ....mmmmmm buck oh five.....freedom costs a buck oh fiiiiiiiiive."

  19. BuckOhFive4Freedom

    Here's a thought for your edification and amusement...

    Since fungus is the only earthly thing that can live in space (remember the Mir space station, anyone?), isn't it possible that some earth based fungi comes from another world? If we are going to spend all this money and energy on researching the cosmos, doesn't it make sense to research here as well? We know that ants lay pheromone trails and can encode information into a scent that other ants can use to determine where to go and what to do. Could mushrooms and other entheogens be like interspecies pheromones from another planet if not from the earth itself? If Aleins tried to communicate with us what would they say? We would have to think outside the box in order to understand or even recognize the message. Perhaps a benign alien species would actually share its consciousness through entheogenic spores, or provide an essential building block to primitive beings to allow them to expand consciousness.

  20. Tim Osman

    OK that does sound a bit crazy now that I read it, but I still just can't see how video evidence doesn't count in scientific communities.

    1. MFD

      yeah I don't follow you on the funneling of money bit, mainly because I think NASA and SETI would stand to gain from disclosure. If it is shown life is out there (which it is) then they would in theory gain more funding to explore this. NASA has also as of 2012 been pretty much defunded by the gov't, all future missions are privately paid for. The evidence of alien contact is all around us, we jumped from having no planes, to landing on the moon in what 30 years? There are plenty of CIA, military, NASA, NRO etc higher ups that have disclosed that we aren't alone. We've been brainwashed for so long to write even the truth off that it's no wonder no one even believes them. The proof is there, the vast majority are either too blind or too arrogant to admit it.

  21. Tim Osman

    Not that S.E.T.I. and N.A.S.A would be rendered useless or are in any way aiding the government in suppression, but I think as soon as somebody says, "umm actually, the aliens found US" their mission statements would change, their funding would drop substantially, and they would be way less interesting compared to what the president just said.

  22. Tim Osman

    I don't really understand how video evidence of alien craft is not considered evidence. This whole alien issue really throws me a curve-ball. I mean what would happen if 1 of the thousands of video tapes of alien craft was proven to be authentic? Seriously. Just one. If one of the thousands of video tapes and photographs happened to be backed up with material evidence; what would be the result in America? S.E.T.I has been spending a lot of cash (I'm assuming) for 50 years trying to find a radio signal, and one day, the president announces, "my fellow Americans, that football-field-long ship over phoenix was not from here,(pauses since the teleprompter says "pause") and by here, I mean earth"
    What would happen to N.A.S.A or S.E.T.I? This is my conspiracy theory based on me trying to understand the divide between videotaped evidence, and S.E.T.I.. The U.S. government, being one of the few around the world to still deny the public the evidence they have collected for hmm 50 years, are doing so in order to launder money through S.E.T.I. and N.A.S.A.. Take that Alex!

    1. michael nestor

      Your driveway doesn't go all the way to the road, Mr Osman.

  23. Laurie Robillard

    @420 VisionTruth
    is that although we have no conclusive proof yet for life outside of earth’s thin atmosphere, it is most likely extermely common in the cosmos, but when we discover life elsewhere it will most likely be simple microbial forms.

    To say that everything came from the Big Bang is like saying babies come from maternity wards—true in a narrow sense, but it hardly goes back far enough. Where did the stuff that went "bang" come from? What was it? Why did it bang?1

    This idea of a creation from nothing contradicts Latter-day Saint beliefs about eternalism—the claim that God, human spirits, and even the elements are eternal

    The Big Bang represents the origin of all matter and energy, even of physical space and time themselves. . . . Therefore, to hold that matter/energy are eternal or that God is the physical product of a beginningless progression is

    The Aquinas fallacy consists of assuming that current science, including both fact and speculation, provides final answers.The standard hot big bang model as a final scientific description of the origin of the universe and use it to establish a doctrine of "creation from nothing."

    It is essential to realize that both the scientific and the religious canons of knowledge are incomplete, and it would be wrong to assume that either gives definitive answers about the other. While none can doubt the value of the knowledge and understanding brought into the world through science, one should be cautious in employing scientific results to support dogmas about God.
    A beginning of time means that we can make no measurements or observations regarding any earlier epoch, and the notion of time itself in our universe has no meaning before that moment. It does not mean that no one else had time.

    Some inflationary theories lead to a belief in continuous creation of universes, and these lead to a consideration of the biggest picture of reality: a multiverse, the totality of all universes, including the background energy of which they were made.

    The surprise discovery in late 1998 of the current acceleration of the expansion of the universe, apparently caused by an anti-gravity force similar to the huge energy of the vacuum or Einstein's cosmological term. The universe is made of about 5 percent common matter (electrons and protons), 25 percent "dark matter" (a mysterious matter whose nature is not understood), and 70 percent "dark energy" (a mysterious energy). This background energy alone may destroy the argument of creation from nothing.

    Based on massive amounts of empirical and theoretical evidence, scientists state that the earth was created from preexisting gas and dust (a conclusion with which Latter-day Saints would agree). One might as easily say that Henry Ford created the Ford car—however, he did not create it from nothing.

    Mathematical physicists Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose showed that "the beginning of time would have been a point of infinite density and infinite curvature of space-time. All the known laws of physics would break down at such a point." Such a point, as we've already seen, is called a singularity. Many physicists now reject two underlying assumptions of the Hawking-Penrose theorems: that the general theory of relativity holds everywhere and that the gravitational force is always attractive.10 Most scientists expect a quantum theory of gravity to supersede the general theory of relativity, and it was apparently the repulsive gravitation that drove inflation in the early universe.

    Since the standard hot big bang model really begins at an epoch (very shortly) after the beginning, it offers no hint as to the origin of the bang, and thus it lacks a preceding cause—a fact considered a serious deficiency by scientists, though apparently not by theologians.

    Any attempt to describe empty space is bound to fail unless it includes the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum, which form a background for everything else. Quantum mechanics imposes a rigorous upper limit to our knowledge because of the uncertainty principle. Even empty space—the vacuum—is a beehive of activity in which a froth of virtual particles, waves, and quasi-particles leaps into existence as a quantum fluctuation and then dissolves back into the vacuum or annihilates with corresponding anti-particles or waves

    If inflation is correct, then the inflationary mechanism is responsible for the creation of essentially all the matter and energy in the universe. The theory also implies that the observed universe is only a minute fraction of the entire universe, and it strongly suggests that there are perhaps an infinite number of other universes that are completely disconnected from our own.

    Since there is no reason to imagine that ours is the first bubble universe, a multitude of other bubble universes as well as multitudes of failed universes might have existed as well. Indeed, as noted above, some theories of inflation lead naturally to a continuous creation of universes

  24. Eric


    Thanks for your reply, but those things are technologies developed FOR space exploration here on earth. Nothing on your list result directly from discoveries made in space. I dont think you have to orbit jupiter or the goal to orbit jupiter to make technological advancements.

    I want examples of important discoveries made directly in space, discoveries that could not be done here on earth or in orbit of the earth.
    OK i accept and i agree, local space exploration is very important (sun, mercury, venus, moon, mars), but here, the discussion was the exploration of the universe.

    And for the artificial heart, the first researches begin in the 40's and was developed in the 60's.

  25. Epicurus

    @Eric are you serious? do you need me to list the benefits of understanding the physics of the solar system and universe we live in? oooookay

    We are surrounded every day by technologies developed for space exploration. The artificial heart for example, resulted from experiments on the space shuttle and a partnership with renowned heart surgeon Dr. Michael Debakey. The hand held Jaws of Life used to save victims from car wrecks originated from the system used to separate the space shuttle from its booster rockets. Even the insulation that keeps our homes warm and energy efficient is based of the technology used to insulate the space shuttle, and even fire resistant pajamas for children developed through NASA's technologies.

    These advances are found in our food, our building materials, medical procedures and the vehicles we drive. So the next time you wonder if it is a waste of time and money to explore space remember that it is actually an investment that improves the quality of our lives.

    being able to understand how stars form and die will help us understand our own solar system. especially their work with gravity and radiation has proven especially useful.

    anything else????

  26. Pauly

    I think I could listen to Morgan Freeman talk about his wrinkley balls and it would still be interesting!

  27. Eric

    We have gained ALOT by exploring the universe so why stop?

    Can you define gained ALOT please?

  28. LMFAO

    Wow I never thought anyone watching documentaries like these could say that exploration is a waste. We have gained ALOT by exploring the universe so why stop?

    Imagine what some people thought when Columbus was aiming for "the end of the world"

    Anyway very nice series and long live science, knowledge and curiosity

    1. MFD

      I liken not believing in aliens as the same as not believing the earth was round. the evidence was there, the people just refused to accept the truth. In antiquity there was plenty of evidence that the earth was round, yet the "leaders" wouldn't allow that info to get out. Same circle we are in now.

  29. Randy

    The purpose of discovery is... discovery. We must spend as much as we can on it, all the time. No matter how trivial it seems, we must do it.

    The electron was discovered in the 1800's and no one knew what to do with it. It seemed useless.

    Can you imagine our world today without electronics?

    Any tiny discovery made today, no matter how silly it seems now, may be the technology that saves millions of lives in the future.

    The Hate Machine is right, and Prix is right, and Jere Newton? whatever you are smokin', man, I want some!

  30. Coyote03

    The entire 'Through the Wormhole' series is great, really enjoyable :D

  31. jere newton

    welcome to the planet of the apes-earth ---they found us thousands of years ago they are masters at cloning and masters at everything--they are living on the earth they call us--- the ash can of the universe---iam 80 yrs old i have talked to two of them -the last time 30 yrs ago- when we are ready we will know who they are- jn

  32. realist


    I think anyone who doubts there is intelligence or life other than on earth is obviously not really intelligent enough to be alive.

  33. Eric


    Please, don't tell me we have to spend money on these research because our sun will die one day. First, we all know that and its a very long term scenario. And i don't believe our sun will be the cause of our extension.
    And if this scenario is going to happen, do we have to spend our money and our resources right now, at a fast rate, for the "humanity" (here i suppose human are the last step in our evolution, and i doubt it) in 4 billions years?

    And ironically, the point of view of resources depletion is a bit funny. Take all our resources right now to prevent the future "no resources world".

    For your time travel part, its not because the law of relativity say its possible that is feasible. Most serious astro-physicist doubt in time travel. I mean, time travel on a day to day basis for long period of time. So do you want to spend billions on the researches? Anyway, if humans find a way to time travel, this will never be public, they will use it as a weapon.

    For the exploration part of our universe, in my opinion, there is only one way to colonize or explore our galaxy and its a very long term project. First, we need to completly masterize human cloning, second, launch spaceship with machine capable of cloning human beings few years before it reach his destination. The spaceship will need a good source of energy with failure proof systems and robot who can repair technical problems during this epic trip.
    But at one point, the spaceship will be to itself. And we should’nt be able to know the end of the story :).
    Of course if you believe in time travel and warp drive or wormholes capable to bend space time you will not agree with this.

    You said "Think of what we could do if we could see hurricanes and tornadoes and wars before they happened."
    Are you serious? Predict wars with science? And for tornadoes and hurricanes, maybe, but right now, with all the researches and very good technology, we have problems to predict the weather for tomorrow.

    My point is, there is a lot of cool science, but there is so much more scientists, engineers, private corp, military etc. who need this money for a living.
    And probably this is correct, for the economy, the evolution of our society, for our young brains at schools and our fascination, but there is no rush and we could spend our money where the needs are.

    Finally, when you said "all in the name of profit and power for the elite", who do you think will escape our dead planet for better worlds if this happen? Think about it :)

    Im still a big fan of all these very interesting documentaries :o)

  34. Brian Cohen

    I believe a "Manned mission" to mars and exploration of the ice caps/ice sheets has a good chance in finding life or rmnants of life.Europa is a good place to look as well.

  35. ez2b12

    We live on a planet that has a finite amount of resources. This means one day we will have to leave this place and find another home, if mankind is to survive. Even if we develope the technology to live forever on the resources here the sun will one day cease to give life and begin to take it. Theirfore it is of great importance to the long term survival of the human species that we understand life and its needs and abilities completely. This means we must know of the full range of life in the uiniverse, not just carbon based life forms, and make an attempt to understand each types needs and contributions. If we are talking about wasting money and resources let's look at the defence dept. not scientific funding. We spend an insane amount of money on defence, I think it is seven times more than any other country. Lets try just three times more, we should still be very well protected and we have freed up billions to fund social programs such as poverty relief and education. The study of astro biology is very important, cosmology by the way has more to do with the creation of the universe and the properties of energy and matter. These studies may very well lead to an exhaustible efficient supply of energy for our planet, that seems fairly important and relevant to the current situation. They may lead to time travel, sounds crazy but its true. Think of what we could do if we could see hurricanes and tornadoes and wars before they happened. Lets not make the mistake of cutting the funding for these important, moral, and compassionate efforts to better our standard of living and perpetuate our species. Insted lets realize that the people that own the companies that make all the weapons and machinery for war, that drill in our oceans for more fossil fuels to further our desperate addiction are running our government. They are appropriating billions and billions of unnecessary dollars to funnel into thier own companies and eventually their own pocket book in the name of national security and securing a safer world for democracy. Worst of all they are sending our children, brothers, fathers, and motherts, over to a foriegn country to commit murder and possibly get murdered themselves- all in the name of profit and power for the elite. Lets take their money and put it to use doing something for us, something for the betterment of every living human on this earth.

  36. carlos1234

    @prix...whose talking about religion, i don't think anybody was talking about religion......

    I think what Eric is trying to say is, Why are they spending so much money on these science projects (cause that is what they are) when maybe we could be spending it on something that can actually help humanity

    And how is finding microscopic life gonna help us develop new more advanced technology,
    I think were going to need this new more "advanced technology" before hand to find the micro-life, and if they find it then how is this micro-life gonna teach us how to build new technology,, were gonna have to build even newer more "advanced technology" to study the micro-life even after we find them, so they wont really teach us anything besides the fact that there is life on other planets

    for the record I do think there is life on other planets somewhere let me just say that........but do i think that people should waist so much money on it??? in my opinion no

    if the medical industry starts a project, whatever it might be whether its looking for a cure for a disease, studying a certain diseases, even something small like the red cross. Someone in the medical industry needs to go around asking people for help fundhese things.

    and yet these cosmologist, astronomers don't seem to have any trouble finding funds

    maybe its just me,,,maybe we really do need to find micro-life on another planet maybe it really will help us somehow I just don't see it

  37. Prix

    I see your point about spending money into finding Intelligent life is a waste. Still, if we can find small amount of life, it will help us come closer to the understanding evolution and if evolution theory holds up in the same way as on earth. It might even help us develop more advanced technology than we already have. Or maybe we might find that advanced civilization has already existed before.

    While scientists research on how to find life they try to build better machines that will help us here on earth as well.

    Spending money on science that takes careful and small steps is better than spending money on religion that will not help us get more advanced.

  38. carlos1234

    Its weird how once you watch enough documentaries a lot of the new ones you/i watch already contains information you/i know :)

  39. HaTe_MaChInE

    Personal opinion

    life in the universe: 100%

    life in milky way: 99%

    life in the solar system: 20%

    If we dont find life in our solar system, life will not be discovered in our lifetime.

    If humans do find other life i doubt we will actually be considered humans at the time.

  40. Achems Razor

    Still, a very interesting doc.

  41. ekim

    @ collette
    In a way i agree...look at our planet not much intelligence here huh? lol! but seriously i think it is extremely possible! obviously if we can do it, why can't other planets? and what if there are planets that have evolved intelligent life millions of years before we did? think of what we could learn! the only disappointing thing to me is that if we do somehow find that intelligent life, its going to be nearly impossible to get to and from the planets considering the distance.

  42. Collette

    I agree. It is same old stuff. i liked te comparison with the glass of water and the ocean.
    There is this dfference between searching for life out there and searhing for inteligence. The first seems to me 99.9% possible, but the second I doubt it much.

  43. Eric

    Nothing new, and i dont think there will be new stuff for a couple of years. They can keep the footage for next year, change the narrator and the title :)
    But still interesting to watch.

    i'm already 99.9% convinced that life exist out there.
    My question, if they find an exoplanet where life is possible, what this will change? Ho, i know, more public money for their research. So, they will find soon, don't worry.
    At least we have entertaining documentaries.