"Finding Life in Outer Space"
Sunday, March 25 starting at 8 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel™
At 8 PM, Smithsonian Channel premieres a new Stephen Hawking Special, “Leaving Earth: Or How to Colonize a Planet.” Featuring interviews with Hawking and other renowned astrophysicists, the special explores Hawking’s theory that humans must colonize space within a hundred years
In what may have been Stephen Hawking’s last major television project, Smithsonian Channel explores his controversial position that the survival of the species depends on inhabiting another planet. Planet Earth has been home to humankind for more than 200,000 years, but with a population of 7.3 billion and counting and limited resources, some scientists believe it might not support human life forever. Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s most prominent scientists, believed that humans must have an interstellar escape plan in place within the next 100 years.
He asserted that this is the only way to safeguard the future of the human species from the next mass extinction – by leaving Earth and making a new home on another planet. The program visits an exo-planet observatory in the heart of the Atacama Desert, reveals a plasma-powered rocket engine that could revolutionize space travel, explores the giant greenhouses of Biosphere 2 and showcases NASA’s own “robot army.” Hawking, top scientists, technologists and engineers around the globe investigate whether humans really do have what it takes to colonize another planet.
Then at 9 PM, “Finding Life in Outer Space” premieres. This special travels across incredible tracts of space and time exploring the greatest mystery of the universe – why life exists. The show follows the scientists responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in understanding the origins of life and uncovers how cutting-edge observations and experimentations are transforming the view of how the universe works.
Hydrothermal geyser pools in the Atacama Desert in Chile reveal secrets about the first steps life took on the primeval Earth, and high in the Arctic Circle, the northernmost science facility on the planet keeps an eye on the magnetic shield that protects humans from devastation by the solar wind. The film explores U.S laboratories where the secrets of astrochemistry are recreated, and looks to England where they are closing the gap between chemistry and biology by simulating conditions on Earth four billion years ago. Telling a story of creation on an incredible scale and with incredible consequence, “Finding Life in Outer Space” shows that science may be pointing to one fantastic conclusion – we are not alone.