NGC US looks to capitalise on 'Star Wars' hype with 'Extraterrestrial' special

MUMBAI: As the conclusion to the Star Wars saga Revenge of The Sith takes the world by storm National Geographic Channel (NGC) in the US has announced a special documentary Extraterrestrial which will air on 30 May.


Tthe show will feature an array of new and bizarre planetary creatures. What makes them unique is the fact that they are scientifically based visions of life as predicted by some of the world's leading scientists.

The show creates two worlds which scientists believe could exist in our own Milky Way galaxy, putting evolution into motion to investigate what life forms could survive there. Utilising a combination of computer generated imaging (CGI) and 3-D effects, Extraterrestrial takes viewers on a galactic journey to come face-to-face with these fantastic alien life forms.

The show reflects the contributions of leading scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), prestigious

universities and organisations like the Ecospheres Project and the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). The experts anticipate discoveries to be made in the near future, when super-powerful new telescopes will begin watching the fringes of the Milky Way for signs of life.



Using super computers powerful enough to make predictions about the Earth's climate Extraterrestrial's scientists modeled the weather and climate for a planet that would orbit a red dwarf star, one of the most common stars in our galaxy. To their astonishment, the resulting profile indicated that the planet would be capable of supporting life.

Based on the latest scientific results and deep space observations, two planets are identified to

represent statistically likely celestial bodies and are subsequently named Aurelia and Blue Moon. Extraterrestrial then brings the science team's

visions of their respective inhabitants to the screen through CGI modelling and animation.

One of the Planets Aurelia, which circles a red dwarf star, is representative of one of the

most habitable types of planets. The scientists are confident of finding something very similar to Aurelia. It's very much in the cards according to them.

A place of extremes, one side of Aurelia is permanently exposed to starlight, the other in eternal freezing darkness. There are no seasons, days or nights. Cloud and lightning storms cover the center of the light side,

while a giant ice cap smothers much of the dark side. As viewers descend into the light side, violent storm clouds give way to a landscape of immense rivers and vast flood plains, several times bigger than the Amazon.

Evolutionary biologists and biomechanists then conceived of life forms they believe could survive on Aurelia -- nicknaming them Stinger Fans, Gulphogs and Hysteria among others.

Stinger Fans on Aurelia resemble tall plants with giant fans at the top, but they are flesh-and-blood animals that feed on the sun's energy.

Large slithery tentacles constantly move them slowly across the mud, jostling for the best place to capture the sun's precious rays.

The Gulphog is the largest predator in the Stinger Fan forest, standing nearly 15 feet high, massive as a buffalo, but with a giraffe-like neck and prominent central teeth. Although it looks ungainly, scientists' calculations show that the Gulphog can run as fast as a racehorse. Its long legs often help it outrun an indigenous predator, dubbed the deadly Hysteria.

Hysteria look like tadpoles, peacefully eating tiny creatures that live in Aurelia's lagoons. But the Hysteria can undergo a terrifying transformation

when they come together as one undulating creature, rising from the water to bore into land-based victims and releasing a flesh dissolving toxin.

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