Does life exist on other planets? Astrobiology is a visionary new science that searches for life in space by combining the disciplines of astronomy, biology and geology. How did life evolve on Earth? What will life look like on other planets? These and other pertinent questions will be answered by a diverse group of scientists. Viewers will visit the Pilbara region of West Australia where the oldest evidence of life on Earth has been discovered. Travel to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn to test a theory that life could exist in the clouds of Venus. Finally, watch as experiments are done to see if life exists on exoplanets, earth-like planets beyond our solar system.
Category:Science Duration:45:00 Series: The Universe
The planets of our solar system have experienced epic catastrophes throughout their long history, both raining down from outside and bubbling up from within. We'll voyage back in time to investigate the violent events that profoundly shaped the planets, including earth itself. We'll witness stunning revelations about what transformed Mars into a barren, hostile desert... The disaster that changed Venus from temperate to hellish... The impact that blew away Mercury's mantle, turning it into a planetary core... A colossal disturbance that rearranged the orbits of the gas giants... Titanic impacts on Jupiter... And how a lost moon may finally explain Saturn's rings.
Category:Science Duration:44:00 Series: The Universe
There is a hellish planet in our solar system; covered in thick dense clouds and roasted by colossal temperatures. It will be inevitable that the Earth will someday not only be like Venus, but actually put it to shame. A billion years from now, Earth's oceans will boil off, triggering a runaway greenhouse effect, and the temperature will be so high, its all surface will melt. In the distance future, Earth could be the evil twin of Venus. To understand how our world will be destroyed we need to look at what happened to Venus.
Category:Science Duration:43:00 Series: How the Universe Works
The second episode is about how plants gain their sustenance. Sunlight is one of the essential requirements if a seed is to germinate, and Attenborough highlights the cheese plant as an example whose young shoots head for the nearest tree trunk and then climb to the top of the forest canopy, developing its leaves en route. Using sunshine, air, water and a few minerals, the leaves are, in effect, the "factories" that produce food. However, some, such as the begonia, can thrive without much light. To gain moisture, plants typically use their roots to probe underground. Trees pump water up pipes that run inside their trunks, and Attenborough observes that a sycamore can do this at the rate of 450 litres an hour — in total silence. Too much rainfall can clog up a leaf's pores, and many have specially designed 'gutters' to cope with it. However, their biggest threat is from animals, and some require extreme methods of defence, such as spines, camouflage, or poison. Some can move quickly to deter predators: the mimosa can fold its leaves instantly when touched, and the Venus flytrap eats insects by closing its leaves around its prey when triggered. Another carnivorous plant is the trumpet pitcher that snares insects when they fall into its tubular leaves. Attenborough visits Borneo to see the largest pitcher of them all, Nepenthes rajah, whose traps contain up to two litres of water and have been known to kill small rodents.
Category:Nature Duration:49:00 Series: The Private Life of Plants
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