Segments in this Video

Breakthrough Listen (03:18)


The international project is the first serious search for extraterrestrial life by scanning the skies for ET signals. The goal is to find an artificial signal with an unexplained source. The Parkes Observatory radio telescope in New South Wales is being upgraded for the project.

Advancements for SETI (02:38)

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence started in 1960 by Frank Drake. Thousands of new planets have been discovered recently, which has given scientists new locations to look at. Advances in computing power have made it easier for astronomers to go through large amounts of data.

Alien Hunting (06:14)

SETI and the possibility of life on other planets is a recent phenomenon in science. In the 1960s, Drake developed a formula to calculated how many intelligent civilizations exist in the universe. The Kepler telescope was sent to discover new solar systems and planets, like TRAPPIST 1.

Goldilocks Zone (03:00)

For a planet to sustain intelligent life, it must be exactly the right distance from a star for water to be liquid. A planet orbiting Proxima Centauri fits the requirement and is the closest to Earth. It is estimated almost 40 billion planets could exist in the Milky Way galaxy.

Starlight (04:16)

In addition to radio transmissions, Breakthrough Listen is looking at the particles in starlight that could indicate life. After having passed through the inhabited planet's atmosphere, the light particles would contain proof of life, like oxygen.

Alien Paradox (06:06)

Physicist Enrico Fermi penned the concept in the 1950s of why advanced alien life, if it exists, has not already contacted Earth. Some believe intelligent life is prone to self-destruction, which prevented contact. Others think that humans have not detected the contact yet.

Clues to Simple Life (10:03)

Studying how life developed on Earth can provide evidence for how it could on other planets as well. Stromatolites are formed by single-celled microbes and provide a fossil record of ancient life on Earth. The conditions are incredibly harsh and similar to the conditions on Mars.

Clues to Complex Life (02:41)

NASA has sent probes to the further planets in the solar system to look for complex life. Jupiter's moon Europa has a vast ocean under a thick layer of ice and some astrophysicists believe it is the most likely place to find life.

Fossil Research (04:32)

There could be fossilized stromatolites on Mars. Scientist Ved Chirayath is developing a method of studying and mapping them.

Alien Technology (08:12)

Astrophysicists are studying astrological phenomenon, which could be bursts of radio activity from unknown technology. The fast radio bursts were discovered by astronomer Matthew Bailes, who is working with others to pinpoint their origins.

Search for Communication (05:26)

With the upgrades at Parkes Observatory finished, scientists have started looking for alien communications. They direct it at the closest, possibly inhabitable planet, Proxima Centauri.

Credits: Closing In: The Hunt for Alien Life (00:25)

Credits: Closing In: The Hunt for Alien Life

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Closing In: The Hunt for Alien Life

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Will we soon find evidence of alien life? Scientists are currently in the throes of an unprecedented search for ET—and an answer to this long-pondered question may come sooner than you think.

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: BVL188129

ISBN: 978-1-64623-391-5

Copyright date: ©2017

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