"Mesmerizing... will leave both dreamers and doers pining for what the future folds”
"Absolutely teeming with life... wonderfully upbeat and optimistic"
"Fascinating and optimistic... a well-researched, nuanced and thorough update on how far humanity has come, and how far it still has to go"
LIVING UNIVERSE is an interstellar adventure that seeks to answer the most profound question of all: are we alone? Based on the latest scientific knowledge, we take a journey to a planet beyond our solar system in search of life.
We ask the world’s leading space scientists what we might find if we travel to a neighbouring star system. Recent breakthroughs have proven that every star we see in the sky is orbited by at least one planet, many similar to our own Earth. How do we get to these “exoplanets”? Once there, what will we find? And what will it mean for humanity when we discover we are not alone?
Our speculative journey through space is set 150 years in the future - when we have the technology to journey well beyond our solar system. On this first expedition, our interstellar star ship will be piloted not by astronauts, but by the artificial intelligence (A.I.) we call Artemis. We imagine how Artemis travels through space, on its 50-year journey, at twenty percent of the speed of light. Its objective is Minerva B, a planet much like our own, with an atmosphere, temperature and liquid water that appears a likely candidate to contain life.
With spectacular special effects we will reach and explore a new planet as we seek to answer the most profound question of all: are we alone in the universe? Our guides on this journey are narrator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and as the voice of our AI, Artemis, real-life astrophysicist, Professor Tamara Davis.
Inspired and informed by our rapidly developing knowledge of far-off worlds, our best scientists - including NASA engineers, astrophysicists and astronomers – we will discover that this amazing journey is not only possible, it is inevitable. To venture into distant space is our destiny.
FEATURING THE VOICES OF:
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI as The Narrator
Dr Karl is the man with the answers when it comes to Science and Technology. His media career spans more than 30 years, talking about Science in radio, TV, newspapers, and books – 43 to date with more on the way. His accolades range from the Ig Nobel Prize from Harvard University for his ground-breaking research into belly button fluff and why it is almost always blue, to being one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures.
A lifetime student, Dr Karl has degrees in Physics and Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine and Surgery. He has worked as a physicist, labourer, roadie for bands, car mechanic, filmmaker, biomedical engineer, TV weatherman, and medical doctor at The Children’s Hospital in Sydney. Since 1995, he has been the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney, where his ‘mission’ is to spread the good word about science and its benefits.
PROFESSOR TAMARA DAVIS as the AI, Artemis
Astrophysicist Tamara Davis has spent almost two decades studying supernovae, supermassive black holes, and the 3D distribution of galaxies to test our fundamental laws of nature, understand gravity, and decipher the “dark energy” that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. She is now helping manage the Dark Energy Survey, an international survey of over 400 researchers on 5 continents. Her research has been recognized by many prizes including the Astronomical Society of Australia’s medal for the young researcher with the highest international impact, and the Australian Academy of Science’s medal for outstanding female leadership in Science.
KEY EXPERTS (in alphabetical order)
The film has been developed over the past six years with input from two of NASA’s leaders in space research and missions - Steve Squyres (Lead Investigator on the Mars Rover missions) and Gentry Lee (Chief Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and sci-fi author). The producers have collaborated with many of the finest minds in astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology, engineering and philosophy to bring this story to the screen.
Dr Natalie Batalha is an astrophysicist at NASA's Ames Research Center and the Mission Scientist for NASA's Kepler Mission. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and a Doctoral degree in astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz. Dr Batalha has been involved with the Kepler Mission since the proposal stage and has contributed to many different aspects of the science, from studying the stars themselves to detecting and understanding the planets they harbour. She led the analysis that yielded the discovery in 2011 of Kepler-10b — the mission's first confirmation of a rocky planet outside our solar system. Today, she leads the effort to understand planet populations in the galaxy based on Kepler discoveries.
NASA Chief Engineer for the Planetary Flight Systems Directorate of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Gentry Lee is responsible for the engineering integrity of the Curiosity mission and has participated in every Mars exploration project since the first mission in 1964. He was Chief Engineer for the Galileo project from 1977-1988 and, after working in a variety of positions on the Viking project from 1968-76, was Director of Science Analysis and Mission Planning during the Viking operations. In addition to his engineering work, Gentry Lee has been a novelist, television producer and media columnist. Between 1989 and 1994, he co-authored four novels with science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. All four books were New York Times bestsellers and were translated into more than 20 languages.
Avi Loeb is Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University and Chair of the Harvard Astronomy Department. Loeb is not a typical astronomer. His interest and background is in philosophy, which is partly why he has had such success in his field… after all, the most interesting and relevant questions are related to pure philosophy: who we are, how we got there and what our place is in the universe. Avi Loeb is best known to cosmologists for illuminating the messy physics of the cosmic dawn, when light from the first stars and galaxies seared holes into the hydrogen gas that suffused the new universe. He and his colleagues have also described how to spot ancient gamma ray bursts, how giant black holes may have grown and merged and how to take the first image of a black hole key predictions that led to campaigns to observe such extreme physics. But his ruminations have also spawned papers on searching for imprints of life in exoplanet atmospheres, detecting light from nearby alien civilisations, and how astronomers of the far future might deduce the expansion history of the universe.
Karin Öberg is a Swedish astrochemist. Öberg is a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and leader of the Öberg Astrochemistry Group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She is best known for her work studying star formation, planet formation, and stellar evolution in relation to organic molecules, which are necessary to determine the origins of life on Earth and elsewhere.
Sara Seager is an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT. Her science research focuses on theory, computation and data analysis of exoplanets. Her research has introduced many new ideas to the field of exoplanet characterisation, including work that led to the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere. Professor Seager also works in space instrumentation and space missions for exoplanets, including CubeSats, as a co-investigator on the MIT-led TESS, a NASA Explorer Mission launched in May 2018.
Steve Squyres' research focuses on the robotic exploration of planetary surfaces, the history of water on Mars, geophysics and tectonics of icy satellites, tectonics of Venus, planetary gamma-ray and x-ray spectroscopy. He has participated in a number of planetary spaceflight missions. Since 1978, he has held investigation and team roles on a number of projects and recently served as chair of the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee.