Alien Faces

The Universe
Season 3
12 episodes
See below for purchasing options
DVD & Blu-ray
"The Universe" episode no. 37 (season 3)
  • written and directed by John Greenewald
  • edited by Motoshi Wakabayashi

  • narrated by Erik Thompson
  • Main Title Theme and Original Music by Eric Amdahl
  • Flight 33 Productions, (c) 2008 A & E TV Networks
  • 1 documentary @ 44 minutes

Data Capsule Review

by Martin Izsak

In this episode, astrophysicists and astrobiologists visit a wide variety of alien worlds, extrapolating from what they know to try to think of the most bizarre lifeforms that may have developed on such worlds.

Although it is somewhat disappointing that it is all fiction, this speculation is remarkably well-detailed and rendered beautifully with plentiful CGI.

David Aguilar seems to be the primary voice of this episode, and he describes the places and creatures with a serious "Now, you'd better write this down"-style conviction that most other scientists don't even apply to real facts, which makes the fictional aspect that much more bizarre. But, these theoretical planets and lifeforms also appear to be well-known amongst scientists, as Craig Freudenrich is equally serious about the same ones, in much more understated fashion.

Personally, I find it quite refreshing to start with such a solid scientific base and then let the imagination run wild for alien worlds and strange lifeforms. More sci-fi writers should try this, before it becomes a lost art form.

Thankfully, some of the usual contributors to "The Universe" are also on hand to balance the information and remind us of the importance of having such template models in mind as we search for those real exoplanets that might meet required conditions to give rise to some of these wild forms of life.

Theoretical worlds explored include:

  • Eronel (tidally locked around a red dwarf star)
  • AG143 (big ringed desert with 3x gravity, F-type star)
  • GPC925 (low gravity marsh planet)
  • Europa (the only real world in the episode)
  • Aner'Bas (ice-ocean moon orbiting gas giant Yeneer G)
  • Gaia'Leo (machine planet building a Dyson sphere)

from the disc sleeve:

Alien Faces:
Armed with scientific fact and a little imagination, scientists, astrobiologists and astronomers create five lines of extraterrestrial evolution, and explain how creatures on the surface of Earth can help us understand life on other planets.

Chapter List:

  1. Introduction
  2. Life Beyond Earth
  3. What They'd Look Like
  4. World with Lower Gravity
  5. Water World
  6. Machines

Participants include:

David A. Aguilar

Harvard University
Center for Astrophysics

Aguilar is one of four concept illustrators credited for this episode.

Craig C. Freudenrich

Biologist / Science Writer

Lynn Rothschild

NASA Ames Research Center

Chris McKay

NASA Ames Research Center

spent over 25 years decoding the origin of life on Earth in order to find it elsewhere.

Michio Kaku

Theoretical Physicist
City University of New York

Author of "Parallel Worlds",
"Physics of the Impossible"

Seth Shostak

Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute
Regular Radio/Podcast Host

Rocco Mancinelli

SETI Institute

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Singularity Institute

This documentary has become available on DVD and Blu-ray.
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The Universe
Season 3 Box Set
12 episodes



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Read the data capsule review for another episode: "Another Earth"

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