The four-part documentary series portrays an unusual adventure humans may embark on in the next century: a journey to the edge of the Solar System – and beyond. Perhaps life is possible on one of the exoplanets ever discovered? It will be generations before the first person sets foot on an exoplanet – but NASA, ESA and CNES are already preparing for the biggest research trip ever. “Life in Space” describes what this journey in the universe looks like and what you might find in far-flung places. It becomes clear that knowledge about alien worlds will also reveal something about humanity and the origin of life on Earth.
The first part deals with the fundamental question: is there life outside our Earth? For a long time, spacecraft sent into space to answer this question returned without any results. In 1995, the discovery of the first exoplanet changed the way humans viewed the universe. Of the 4,000 exoplanets discovered so far with the help of the Kepler space telescope, it is believed that about 1,000 are small, potentially habitable, rocky planets. Extrapolated, this would mean that about a quarter of all stars in the universe could have an Earth-like planet.
Documentation takes a look at the future with scientists: In 2157, science is on the verge of meeting an entirely new type of spacecraft. The spacecraft would be so massive that it would have to be built in space. The large-scale construction work would take a hundred years and provide employment to several generations of scientists. The purpose of the mission would be to send a probe to an extrasolar planet light-years away from our Earth: an Earth-like planet called Minerva b, on which life should be possible. The documentary follows astrophysicists and planetary scientists in conquering these new territories: in France, Switzerland, the United States and Chile they tell of unprecedented technological advances and far-sighted discoveries.
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