Extra Terrestrials

4 Apr, 2002 520 Astronomy

Melvyn Bragg examines Extra Terrestrials. New planets have been observed far beyond our solar system and telescopes are being built that will enable us to look for water and oxygen on these distant planets. If water and oxygen are present, there is every reason to suppose that some form of life might also exist there. It has even been suggested that we might find life within our own solar system. One of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, appears to be covered in an ice-crusted ocean and there is evidence that water once flowed on Mars. On our own planet, there are forms of life that don’t need the sun, living instead on energy from volcanic vents on the ocean floor. This discovery has changed our concept of what life needs in order to survive. Could life only exist on another planet like ours and what are our chances of ever discovering such a planet? If we find life, will it be intelligent, or little more than green slime? And if intelligent aliens exist, why aren’t they here?

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  • Simon Goodwin No other episodes
    Researcher in Astronomy, Cardiff University
  • Heather Couper No other episodes
    Space expert
  • Ian Stewart 15 episodes
    Professor of Mathematics, Warwick University

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Programme ID: p00548cq

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00548cq

Auto-category: 520 (Astronomy and allied sciences)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. The hunt for extraterrestrial life is no longer confined to the pages of science fiction but occupies astronomers, geologists, mathematicians and new schools of scientists, astrobiologists and xenobiologists.