• The new B5TV.COM is here. We've replaced our 16 year old software with flashy new XenForo install. Registration is open again. Password resets will work again. More info here.

Alien Planet on Discovery Channel


Super Moderator
I just came across this and thought I'd post about it in advance of the program coming on in case someone doesn't know about it but would be interested in it.

Discovery Channel's Alien Planet on Saturday May 14th 8pm eastern

What happens when we find life outside our own planet? Discovery Channel brings viewers on a virtual mission of the future. Right now, the search for planets with "life signatures" goes on. These efforts are global, and experts tell us on camera how this search for life is progressing around the world. No longer just the domain of science fiction, what could alien life really look like? Alien Planet dramatizes an exciting — and possible — answer.

The drama takes place on Darwin IV, a fictional planet 6.5 light-years from Earth, with two suns and 60 percent gravity. Having identified Darwin as a world that could support life, Earth sends a pilot mission consisting of the mothership Von Braun and three probes: Balboa, Da Vinci and Newton. This unmanned fleet is responsible for finding and assessing any life-forms on Darwin IV. Initially, the expectation is to find microscopic life, but the probes soon find themselves in the middle of a developed ecosystem teeming with life of all sizes.

The viewer experiences Darwin IV through the "eyes" of the probes Ike (Newton) and Leo (Da Vinci), whose data is relayed back to the mothership and then communicated to Earth. The biological and atmospheric data from the probes and mothership are relayed to viewers through computer voice simulation and on-screen readouts.

Real scientists consider data in this planetary environment. They discuss the larger issues of the possibilities of life outside our solar system and deconstruct the animals on Darwin IV, basing the analysis on the laws of evolution and physics. Where possible, life-size animal images and the real probe prototypes will help the audience to understand the current, real basis of the search for other planets. Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku and other big thinkers and scientists will participate in the discussion of where science is today. Other participants include Jack Horner, Craig Venter, George Lucas and NASA's chief scientist, Jim Garvin.

The drama on Darwin IV is motivated by real science missions, such as the NASA Origins Program and the NASA/JPL Planet-Finder Mission, as well as the European Space Agency's Darwin Project. The Discovery Channel's founder, John Hendricks, recently announced that Discovery is helping to fund a planet-finding telescope, at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. Rooted in real-life endeavors, scientists have designed the planet of Darwin IV (which lies in a known star system), the probes and spacecraft, as well as the various life-forms found.
I have to work until 8 pm that night, so if they don't replay it at another time, I'll miss it.
I've already programmed my DVR for it. It will also be in High Def on Discovery HD Theater. I hope it is as good as it sounds!
It is being repeated a lot. I saw it in HD, and it looked pretty cool. Very fanciful creatures, but interesting. There were a few places where their orbiting super computer didn't do things that should be obvious even to a computer, such as having the last surviving probe go in high, and locate the probe that seemed to be (and was) attacked at as great a distance as possible, then scan the surrounding area for dangers. I liked the idea that it was a lighter planet, but with a thicker atmosphere. That made for some interesting possibilities.
I don't know if this link will work or not, but I'll try anyway.

DirecTV's online program guide that Alien Planet will be rebroadcast thusly in the next 12 days:

Thu May 19 09:00 pm DSC 278

Fri May 20 12:00 am DSC 278

Sat May 21 05:00 pm DSHD 464

So it looks like you might get an opportunity to see it this coming Thursday.
I had wondered whether I was going to like this one considering how unfulfilled I had felt after watching Animal Planet's program on dragons, and how the previous program on one of the networks The Future Is Wild, that did a similar "thought experiement" in looking foward billions of years with a hypothetical mission by humans from elsewhere in the galaxy to see what sort of new lifeforms would evolve on Earth, came off as interesting but still kind of cartoonish. I guess a good amount of successfulness of the program was in its packaging in having statements by various actual scientists intersperced throughout the show, and by making a bit of a story out of how the mission would progress with the probes being kind of characters.

In Alien Planet, I particularly enjoyed the ones that I think were called "bladderhorns". They were the once that had the inflatable bioluminescent antler-sack things on their side that they would puff out and honk at each other and at the probe. I also liked the giant turtle-like thing that ate by having plantlike things growing on its back, the giant thing that walked on the amebic sea, and the final lifeform that we find out attacked the two probes.

Latest posts

Members online

No members online now.