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:
- average Brown Dwarf
- Gliese 581 d
- "liquid" quarks and gluons fractions of a second after the Big Bang
"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:
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.]
- Methane Lakes
- Inside Jupiter
- Brown Dwarfs [& Gliese 581]
- Europa [& the Big Bang]