NOVA: The Planets
The four planets closest to the sun, known as the rocky planets, were born around the same time and from the same material. Yet today they are shockingly different. NOVA takes you on a dramatic journey through space and time to discover how the fates of the rocky planets diverged, and what it might take for life to arise somewhere else. It may be that the next host of life in our solar system isn’t a neighbor at all, but a distant moon of Saturn.
Before it was the dry Red Planet, Mars was a wet world that may have had the ingredients for life. As its atmosphere dwindled, Mars was exposed to the wrath of the sun, losing its water to space and becoming the frozen desert planet we know today. But scientists wonder, if Mars once had many of the elements necessary to form life—water, volcanic activity, and a protective atmosphere—how far into the process might it have gotten? Future missions to Mars will explore the planet’s varied past and potentially answer the ultimate question: Did life ever form on Mars?
NOVA: The Planets, Wednesday beginning at 9 p.m. on PBS 6.