Liquid Universe

The Universe
Season 4
12 episodes
See below for purchasing options
DVD & Blu-ray
"The Universe" episode no. 53 (season 4)
  • written and produced by Savas Georgalis
  • directed by Louis C. Tarantino
  • edited by Kevin Browne and Dan Wolfmeyer

  • narrated by Erik Thompson
  • Main Title Theme and Original Music by Eric Amdahl
  • Flight 33 Productions, (c) 2009 A & E TV Networks
  • 1 documentary @ 45 minutes

Data Capsule Review

by Martin Izsak

This episode presents the concept that very little of the matter in the universe is in a liquid form - which would be essential for life as we know it. The show then uses many examples to demonstrate how both temperature and pressure play key roles in inducing different states or phases of matter, what is required for many different substances to enter a liquid state, and how differently they can behave in that state.

Of course, different planets, moons, and other celestial bodies have very different temperature/pressure environments. Can they have surface liquid, underground liquid, or atmospheric precipitation? What is ice-7? This documentary tackles the questions.

Highlights include the exploration of liquids on Saturn's moon Titan (including an extrapolated map of its lakes), and the exoplanet Gliese 581 d, as well as a ride deep into the layers of Jupiter's atmosphere and "ocean surface" in a fictitious pressure-resistant spacecraft, details about brown dwarfs, metallic liquids creating magnetic fields, viscosity, solubility, and an exploration of the sand/liquid-like properties of quarks and gluons during the Big Bang formation of the universe.

Worlds explored include:

  • Titan
  • Jupiter
  • average Brown Dwarf
  • Gliese 581 d
  • Europa
  • "liquid" quarks and gluons fractions of a second after the Big Bang
Greg Laughlin:
"Our galaxy is really teeming with brown dwarfs. There's tens of billions of brown dwarfs in our galaxy, almost as many as there are actual stars."

And the "Ask the Universe" question for this episode is... "How do we know the Earth has an iron core [if we've never seen it]?"
- Gina S., Danbury, Connecticut

from the disc sleeve:

Liquid Universe:
While water is considered the key to life, the universe is awash in all sorts of strange liquids, from oceans of methane to blobs of alcohol floating in space, and even iron rain.

[But actually, if you're looking for floating alcohol blobs in space, they're not really mentioned in this episode. What you want is
episode 42: "Strangest Things" so that Amy Mainzer can take you to the nebula and buy you a beer.]

Chapter List:

  1. Introduction
  2. Titan
  3. Methane Lakes
  4. Inside Jupiter
  5. Brown Dwarfs [& Gliese 581]
  6. Europa [& the Big Bang]

Participants include:

Chris McKay

NASA Ames Research Center

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

Margarita Marinova


Lisa Kaltenegger

Center for Astrophysics

Alex Filippenko

Astronomer, supernova hunter
University of California, Berkeley

regular science consultant to
"The Universe" series.

Greg Laughlin

University of California, Santa Cruz

creates computer models of solar systems such as Alpha Centauri

Laura Danly

Curator of the
Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

Clifford Johnson

University of Southern California

This documentary has become available on DVD and Blu-ray.
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The Universe
Season 4 Box Set
12 episodes



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Read the data capsule review for another episode: "Extreme Energy"

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