Aliens: the big think documentary. Before Frank Drake and his team of astronomers, cosmologists and thinkers went on a mission to discover extraterrestrial life more than 60 years ago you really could not be taken as a serious scientist if that was your field of study. It’s true our place in the cosmos has changed drastically since the 20th century, a time where many believed the geology of Mars observed through the eye piece of a telescope was indicative of Canals on the surface and therefore intelligent life. Today We know with almost certainly there is no intelligent life on the red planet but this has not stopped us looking further a field for life in other solar systems.
To the best of our Knowledge Earth is the only place in the universe that is able to support life. As a result the best bet of finding intelligent life on other worlds is to find a planet and solar system which mirrors our own. This is no easy task and when the first discovery of a planet orbiting another star was discovered back in 1995 astronomers were only able to track a few of them a day. Today scientists are armed with the extremely versatile and rather appropriately named Keplar Telescope that can track thousands of stars movements at a time. The movement is the slight wobble as the gravitational force of orbiting planets act on their parent star. Another method of finding Earth like planets is to track light from a star dimming as planets move in front of it.
There may be millions upon millions of other intelligent civilisations out there and the more knowledge we gain about the universe the closer we will be to making contact. Legendary astronomer Professor Martin Rees, collaborates with some of Science’s greatest minds in order to asses the chances of life exisiting across the cosmos. We challange preexisting misconceptions of what we think aliens might look like and question the potential ways in which we could discover and contact our cosmic neighbours.