Great comprehensive documentary
Blue Nevus | San Francisco, CA United States | 08/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film takes a great comprehensive look at space travel, life on other planets, and the origins of life on Earth. It does a great job of exploring such topics as Pasteur's experiments with wine barrels, the origins of life on earth, recent discoveries of life in expected places on earth, dust from comets, Jupiter's moon Europa, human's endurance in space, terraforming prospects on Mars, the requirements of a mission to Mars. It's strength is the effective way it illustrates very complicated concepts using great interviews, interesting comparisons, and good visual effects. Unlike other documentaries of this type, this one goes into greater depth with various concepts and ideas. Enjoyable, educational, and inspiring."
Not nearly as interesting as it sounds
M Kelly | USA | 05/12/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I had high hopes for using this program in my high school astronomy classes. All of the other PBS videos I have tried have been useful and high quality. This program seemed extremely disjointed. It had far more CGI imagery than useful content, and the content did not follow any sort of a clear or logical narrative sequence. I suggest passing this one up."
SPACE, the final frontier...
Stephen Pletko | London, Ontario, Canada | 10/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think that the question of whether there is intelligent life beyond Earth is essentially the same question as whether there is life beyond Earth...And the thought that in this [that is, the universe's] incredible enormity, that we are the only creatures to look at [it] and understand [it] and to talk about it, that would be a very discouraging thought. That would be a depressing thought...Ultimately we're only around until the next big impact [by a meteor or asteroid], and then human civilization is gone...Sometime in the future, we're going to be sending a submarine into an alien ocean [on planet Jupiter's moon Europa, discovered in 1610 by Galileo], searching for life...Fundamentally, the biggest challenge to getting humans to [the planet] Mars is money. The technology is here. We can do it...I see Mars as the first testing ground of the possibility that life has a future in space."
The above is the introduction to this fascinating documentary. Note that this introduction consists of six statements (of which I separated them by an "...") made by six key people featured in this documentary.
Some people mistake the title (and subtitle) of this documentary to imply that it is just about exploring space (and subsequently looking for life). However, the title actually states what the ultimate goal of humankind is. This documentary also wants the viewer to understand space and the problems associated with actually exploring it.
Thus, for example, we have segments on the "early solar system" and the "MIR space station" (in order to understand the physical and psychological effects when humans go into space for prolonged periods). Other examples include segments that "compare Earth to Mars" and consider the problems associated with a "manned mission to Mars."
This program is narrated (with the narrator explaining technical terms). Besides narration, there are brief comments with scientists who share their opinions on space exploration, the possibility of life beyond Earth, and the latest developments in the exciting field of astrobiology. Here are some of the people who share their thoughts throughout this program:
Geologists, astronomers, astrophysicists, chemists, engineers, Russian scientists, former cosmonauts & astronauts, neuropsychologists, astrobiologists, and SETI (stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute astronomers.
Throughout the program is spectacular computer generated imagery (or CGI) to aid understanding of concepts and events (both those of the past and those postulated for the future). Also, throughout the program are actual images filmed here on Earth. These are well done.
Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2006) is perfect in visual and audio quality. There are no extras but there is an address of a website given that allows for a few activities. One of these activities is entitled as follows:
"Read essays: if alien life is discovered, what will it say about humanity's place in the universe?"
In conclusion, this is an exceptional documentary, both entertaining and educational!!
(2006; 1 hr, 55 min; wide screen; made for TV (PBS); 9 scenes; closed-captioned)