View Full Version : Alien Worlds - UK Channel 4

2005-Nov-13, 08:53 AM
Programme Link (http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/W/weirdworlds/extraterrestrial/index.html)

This was the first part of a two parter where they get scientists to speculate on what type of life might exist on an earth type planet elsewhere, and then use CGI to show a sort of wild life program detailing it. (Alongside the talking heads)

The made reference to the forth coming NASA Terrestrial Planet finder mission due in 2010.

The first programme had the idea of a tidal locked earth type planet orbiting a red giant. They said on the programme that a red giant lasts longer than our main sequence star, (You learn something new every day, I thought a red giant was the product of a dying star)

This week they had Stinger Ferns, a mixture of plant an animal that makes use of the sunlight

Mudpods - who build dams and eat the roots of the stinker ferns.

A predator on the mudpods, whose name escapes me, (possibly Glub-globs????)

A sort of water based microscopic organism that links together to make a super-organism that comes out of the water to kill one of the predatators.

Did anyone see this on Channel 4, has this been shown in the US on say the discovery channel.

2005-Nov-13, 10:03 AM
I thought the star was a red dwarf. They did say that red dwarfs emit UV flares, with which the life forms would have to deal. The ecology was, inevitably, very simplistic.

2005-Nov-13, 10:26 AM
This is the National Geographic Extarterrestrial piece , isn't it. I missed the program on Channel 4 this time around, but I recognise the creatures from your descriptions.

In all it is very good; although I wonder why the Stinger fans were pink, when they were supposed to be photosynthetic animal-ilke organisms. Surely green or brown would work better on a planet orbiting a red dwarf; because they are red they are reflecting away the wavelengths which carry the greatest part of the incoming energy on such a world.

2005-Nov-13, 02:09 PM
There is a review of this programme in a current TV listings magazine, and the name of the predators were Gulphogs.

The name of the planet around the red giant is Aurelia

2005-Nov-13, 09:17 PM
Yeah, I've got this on DVD. Its quite entertaining, but I can't help thinking they could've come up with some better names for the critters.

2005-Nov-15, 09:06 PM
I still think the planet in the program orbited a red dwarf, not a red giant. Does anyone know?

Next program on Saturday.

2005-Nov-16, 12:03 AM
It was a red giant

Red Dwarf was a BBC commedy sci fi programme

2005-Nov-16, 09:41 AM
It was a red giant

Red Dwarf was a BBC commedy sci fi programme

And "red dwarf" is not the name given to a common type of star?

2005-Nov-16, 11:17 AM
The planet Aurelia orbited a red dwarf.
Red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the sky; if they can support habitable planets, then the chances for life in the universe increase by a great amount.

Unfortunately red dwarfs are dim, and relatively cool; in order to warm a planet to life-supporting levels the planet has to be quite close- often closer than Mercury is to our own Sun.

Paradoxically that means that the cool, redder star looks larger in the sky of such a planet than the sun looks in our sky (this might be why it looked like a giant.); it also means such planets are likely to be tidally locked.
This program attempted to show that such a tidally locked planet, with one hemisphere permanently illuminated and one hemisphere dark, would be habitable.
I hope they are correct, but it remains to be demonstrated.

2005-Nov-16, 11:26 AM
Thanks, Eburacum45, I was beginning to wonder if I had been hallucinating, such was the certainty with which my memories were stated to be false.

2008-Jul-31, 02:28 PM
Apologies for bumping this, but in a sci-fi project I am doing, I thought I would have two of the main characters marooned on a planet in the habitable zone around either a Red Dwarf or a Red Giant as the cliff hanger ending to the "season" (US) / "Series" (UK), ready for the next story line.

Assuming the planet is Earth size as in the Alien Worlds Series and has a breathable atmosphere, aka all those worlds on Star Trek, how lethal would it be, to human life and how could one survive.

Also, does anyone know of any good artist impressions of what it would look like, Google images onlytakes you so far, and I would like some sort of illustration if possible.

2008-Aug-01, 08:34 PM
Is this the one that used Barlow's--no, that was the other documentary...

2008-Aug-02, 09:56 PM
There's a small fragment of the show on Youtube:


Launch window
2008-Aug-03, 10:24 AM
reference to the forth coming NASA Terrestrial Planet finder mission due in 2010.

2020 & people are saying it got binned

"The TPF might not be launched because of budget cuts." (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/51506-when-will-we-find-exoearth.html)