British Broadcasting Corporation BBC Television Publicity
A WHIRLWIND TRIP INTO SPACE WITH SAM NEILL
Movie star, Sam Neill, takes viewers on an awe-inspiring journey around our Galaxy and
beyond in BBC ONE's ground-breaking new documentary series Space (Sunday, July 22,
Space uses state-of-the-art computer graphics to make the Universe and its stars come to
life - from vast clouds where new stars are born, to planet-guzzling monsters such as
black holes. The beauty and sheer power of the cosmos is unleashed on screen using
astonishing images from telescopes around the world and in space itself.
Space's unique concept - a Virtual Space Zone set deep in the mountains of New Zealand
- allows Sam Neill to interact directly with a virtual universe, throwing a stone and
watching it become the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs, wading into the Galaxy
to watch a black hole guzzle the Earth and holding a star in the palm of his hand.
"This is the story of our quest to find out where we all came from" says Sam Neill, who
stars in the soon-to-be-released Jurassic Park III. "It's about the magic of space - that
amazing moment we've all experienced when we look up at the stars and ask ourselves
'where did we come from?' and 'are we alone ?'"
The series meets scientists and experts who are exploring some of the profoundest
questions we can ask ourselves and listens to some of their earth-shattering answers.
In Star Stuff we learn that all life on Earth, including humans, comes from outer space -
every single molecule of our bodies originates from an unimaginably large hydrogen
cloud created by the Big Bang, and there are even serious claims that life was carried to
earth by meteors.
Staying Alive shows just how dangerous the Universe continues to be. Life on Earth has
been nearly eradicated on twenty occasions by massive asteroids, most dramatically
causing the extinction of dinosaurs. Another cataclysm is due any time now.
Even if we avoid destruction by asteroids, we face eventual melt-down, as our Sun is
getting progressively hotter. New Worlds looks at where we could go to escape this fate
and talks to scientists who are already exploring how we could turn a planet like Mars
into a Noah's ark for the earth's animal and plant life. It may even be that humans have
to change themselves genetically to survive.
Black Holes are the Universe's ultimate monsters, sucking everything into their super-
dense centres. There are an estimated ten million of these cosmic killers in our galaxy,
and once created they never die. What are the chances of Earth having a fatal encounter ?
Are We Alone looks at the possibility of extraterrestrial life and visits SETI, a scientific
project that for the past 40 years has been searching for information beamed from
intelligent life in other solar systems.
If humans are ever to reach deep space, there'll need to be some revolutionary changes in
transport. Boldly Go demonstrates how ion propulsion and solar sails may become
effective means to galaxy-hop, and considers 'worm holes' as ways to cheat time and
Space whisks viewers across the globe to meet scientists at the cutting edge of space
technology. People like Professor Paul Drake who recreates exploding stars in his
laboratory; Lawrence Krauss, an astrophysicist and science advisor to Star Trek; Jeff
Wynn, a geologist who tracks down asteroid craters on Earth; Seth Shostak who searches
for extraterrestrial life at the SETI Institute; Penny Boston, a scientist who has found life
in the most inhospitable places on earth, increasing our hopes of finding life on Mars;
Robert Zubrin who is developing biospheres to enable humans to live on Mars; David
Brin, a science fiction writer who believes we may have to change genetically to survive
new worlds; Dr Marc Rayman, a NASA scientist working on ion propulsion; Professor
Brian Boyle who has already mapped out 75,000 galaxies in the Universe, and was the
first person, with his team, to watch a black hole being created; Professor Peter Coles, a
cosmologist who believes tunnels through space could be created to travel anywhere
instantly; and Story Musgrave, an astronaut whose working day involves satellite
maintenance thousands of feet about Earth.
"My aim in making this series is to inspire viewers who think science is a bore," says
award-winning series producer, Richard Burke Ward. "Space is about our relationship
with the Universe - how the things which go on 'up there' really do affect our lives on
Earth. If you think the Universe is a big irrelevance, Space will make you think again."...