The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Everything you always wanted to know about space aliens, explored in documentary

  • Print

MONTREAL - Maybe those science-fiction scenarios about killer robots from space invading the Earth aren't so far-fetched after all.

Aliens bearing little resemblance to Steven Spielberg's cuddly "ET" might actually eye Earth for its potential slaves and to plunder its natural resources, say scientists interviewed in "Aliens: The Definitive Guide," a new documentary being broadcast Sunday on Discovery Canada.

In short, they might be a lot like humans were when they explored new lands.

But don't go running for the shelters just yet.

Even if aliens are headed for us now, space travel can take thousands of years using currently known technology, which probably rules out the possibility of any malevolent ETs touching down during our lifetime, anyway.

Producer Alan Handel says aliens are a "never-ending preoccupation" for people, so making the documentary was a no-brainer. He says surveys indicate that many Canadians believe extra-terrestrials exist and may already have dropped in.

"I just think it's a really neat concept to say 'OK, let's take it seriously and let's go to some of the best scientific minds in the world and see what they have to say.'"

However, "Aliens: The Definitive Guide" isn't a tale of extra-terrestrial terror and instead entertainingly poses an exhaustive list of questions about who may be beyond the stars.

What planets might have life? How might its inhabitants get here? What would they look like? And what are their possible intentions?

These are some of the queries pondered in the two-hour film by Montreal's Handel Productions and U.K.-based Arrow Media.

A theoretical physicist at City University of New York scoffs at anyone who tries to suggest we're the only life forms in the universe.

"Gimme a break," Michio Kaku says in the documentary.

"I mean, how many stars are out there in the universe anyway? The Hubble Space Telescope can see about a 100 billion galaxies — that's the visible universe," he says. "Each galaxy consists of 100 billion stars. Do the math."

For the benefit of viewers who might be a little less adapt at math than your average theoretical physicist, Kaku is kind enough to provide the tally: "10 sextillion — that's one with 22 zeros after it."

All the scientists agreed that any alien who touched down on Earth would be pretty advanced scientifically.

It's not the first time Handel has tackled a subject that would be considered more in the realm of sensational supermarket tabloids. Their last definitive guide documentary was on Bigfoot and the next one in the works looks at time travel.

"We tried to have a lot of fun with it," Handel says of the "Aliens" documentary. "There's a playful tone at times."

Handel describes himself as a "professional skeptic" when it comes to extra-terrestrial life and UFOs.

He says he was surprised by the number of planets that might support life in some form and the extent of the likelihood that alien life could visit Earth.

"It was really surprising to me. I had no idea. I think it's a program that's full of surprises and revelations and information that will be new to most viewers."

He noted that science fiction can often cross the line into science fact, and pointed to one of his other previous films, "How William Shatner Changed The World." That documentary discussed how some technology in the old "Star Trek" TV shows and movies had actually become real.

"A lot of stuff that seemed far-fetched back then was in fact really pretty visionary," he said.

"It's interesting to do a kind of reality check on science fiction and see how far away we are from that vision being real, or real down the road."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

On the job with sea lion researchers

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Would you visit Dalnavert Museum if it reopened?

View Results

Ads by Google