Ancient Aliens s14e22 Episode Script

Secrets of the Exoplanets

1 NARRATOR: Millions of planets similar to our own.
GIORGIO A.
TSOUKALOS: The discoveries of exoplanets over the past few years have been absolutely extraordinary.
NARRATOR: And many could soon be within the grasp of our technology.
MICHIO KAKU: Think about it.
Civilizations over billions of years could have risen and fallen even before the Earth was formed.
NARRATOR: But if we can reach out in pursuit of life on other worlds, might they also be reaching out to us? And have they been doing so for thousands of years? BILL BIRNES: Could it be that ancient civilizations, ancient aliens from far away migrated from their home worlds and they found Earth? WILLIAM HENRY: The implications for humanity are enormous.
NARRATOR: There is a doorway in the universe.
Beyond it is the promise of truth.
It demands we question everything we have ever been taught.
The evidence is all around us.
The future is right before our eyes.
We are not alone.
We have never been alone.
NARRATOR: Cape Canaveral, Florida.
April 18, 2018.
At 6:51 p.
m.
, a Falcon 9 rocket blasts off on a mission to deploy NASA's newest space telescope into orbit: the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.
TESS is like a survey of the whole sky, a survey of the nearest 100 light‐years or so of planets that would be around these stars.
NARRATOR: Over the next decade, scientists expect that TESS will fulfill its primary mission: to discover thousands of so‐called exoplanets.
SUMMERS: Exoplanets are planets that exist outside of our solar system.
We're certainly in an exoplanet golden age of discovery.
20 years ago, we didn't know if there were other Earth‐like planets in the universe.
And now we can't imagine how we could discover things at a higher rate and still try to make sense of it.
It's such a struggle just to keep up with the discoveries that we're making right now.
NARRATOR: It is only recently, with the development of deep‐space satellites and high‐powered telescopes, that a more accurate understanding of nearby planets, especially planets capable of supporting human life, has been possible.
But it wasn't so long ago that the notion of Earth‐like planets existing in our galaxy wasn't simply unknown; it was considered blasphemy.
When the 16th century Italian philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno expressed his belief in "an infinity of worlds" and raised the possibility that other planets could harbor life, he was charged with heresy and burned at the stake.
KAKU: It was heretical, revolutionary, to believe that there could be alien life out there.
Giordano Bruno was burned alive in the streets of Rome, and what was his crime? To say that there are aliens out there on other planets.
HENRY: You weren't allowed to think like that.
It challenged all their predispositions and their power structure.
"No, there are no other worlds.
There's nothing out there.
" But there is something out there, there's no question about it.
NARRATOR: As recently as the early 1990s, astronomers were still unable to detect these distant planets, even with high‐powered telescopes.
It's hard to see an exoplanet.
Imagine trying to look at a firefly next to a spotlight.
It's incredibly difficult because stars shine by their own light.
They give off their own light, but planets reflect light.
A typical star is about ten billion times brighter than a planet.
NARRATOR: Thanks to remarkable advances in technology, astronomers made the very first discovery of an exoplanet in 1992 using an Earth‐based telescope.
But that search kicked into high gear in 2009 with the launch of Kepler, the first space telescope specially designed to find exoplanets.
And in 2018, Kepler was replaced by the even more powerful TESS.
So, one of the really cool things about TESS, the new satellite that NASA's put up, is basically it was specifically designed to detect exoplanets by what's called the transit method, which is where, when a planet goes in front of a star, it blocks the light briefly and you really see the light blink on and off.
AMY SHIRA TEITEL: That tell‐tale dip is what tells you there might be something that's passing in front of it.
The regularity tells you about the orbit, which is the easiest way to actually start looking for new planets.
NARRATOR: Although the initial objective in the search for exoplanets was simply to determine how many stars in our galaxy might have planets in orbit around them, the actual results were staggering.
Our galaxy has around, um, 400 billion stars.
From what we've seen so far is, on average, every star has at least one planet.
So that means that there are 400 billion, at least, planets in our galaxy.
NARRATOR: 400 billion planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone? The discovery of such an extraordinary number of exoplanets represents a radical change in our understanding of the universe.
But even more radical is the notion that millions of those planets might actually be capable of not just supporting life but generating it.
And, to that end, astronomers and astrophysicists actively search for planets in a region they refer to as the Goldilocks zone.
DENNIN: The Goldilocks zone is exactly that range for a given star of where water is gonna be liquid on a given type of planet.
KAKU: We want a planet that is not too close, not too far from the mother star, but just right.
Planets that may have oxygen and H2O, water, that may make possible an atmosphere and maybe even life.
NARRATOR: Based upon current observations, scientists are astounded by the number of potentially habitable planets that exist in the Goldilocks zone.
SUMMERS: With at least 400 billion planets in our galaxy, if you just look at one percent of that, you're still talking about billions of planets that could potentially be habitable.
This is exciting 'cause we once thought that we were the only game in town, that can only exist on the planet Earth.
DENNIN: The discovery of exoplanets, I think it's really changed our view of the potential for life in the universe.
Fundamentally, I think most scientists would now agree that there is some form of life elsewhere in the universe.
NARRATOR: But in spite of the abundance of habitable exoplanets, many scientists still cling to the notion that the only kind of life likely to exist outside of Earth is microbial or bacterial.
They are resistant to what they claim are far‐fetched notions that these planets might not only contain more sophisticated or evolved life‐forms, but intelligent life‐forms, some much more evolved or technologically advanced than our own.
Think about it.
The universe is about 13.
8 billion years old.
The Earth is 4.
6 billion years old.
Civilizations, over billions of years, could have risen and fallen even before the Earth was formed.
NARRATOR: Although the realization that the galaxy is teeming with Earth‐like planets has triggered a revolution in conventional scientific thinking, as far as ancient astronaut theorists are concerned, it merely confirms what they have believed all along.
TSOUKALOS: The discoveries of exoplanets over the past few years have been absolutely extraordinary.
I remember that the first time they discovered this first exoplanet, and me and my colleagues were like‐‐ were saying, "Okay, this will be the first of many.
" And now, apparently, as many as three exoplanets are being discovered on a daily basis.
So what we've said all along, that Earth is not unique in this gigantic universe, turns out to be correct.
This raises the question that we've been bringing up, that for thousands of years, there's evidence of some type of visitation from other civilizations.
Hopefully, our sciences are able to now detect exoplanets, will allow us to pinpoint some of these actual home worlds where aliens have been visiting us.
TSOUKALOS: I propose that most of those planets that are in this Goldilocks zone have life very similar to ours.
The only question is: was it them who came here thousands of years ago? NARRATOR: But while a growing number of mainstream scientists do admit that intelligent life can, theoretically, exist elsewhere within our galaxy, they also argue that the distances between those planets and our own are too vast for any extraterrestrial visitation to take place.
It is a position that puts them in direct conflict with ancient astronaut theorists, who contend that the keys to extraterrestrial space travel can be found in Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, and that a voyage to a distant star could take not centuries but seconds.
NARRATOR: The Atacama Desert, Chile.
August 2016.
At the La Silla Observatory, astronomers searching for exoplanets announce the detection of an Earth‐like planet orbiting the closest star to our solar system, Proxima Centauri.
They name the planet Proxima b, and describe it as both Earth‐like and close enough to its star to be capable of supporting life.
One of the more interesting exoplanets we've found recently is Proxima b.
This exoplanet is about 1.
3 times the size of Earth, so scientists think that it might be rocky, which means that it could be quite similar to Earth.
SUMMERS: Proxima b may be habitable.
We'll be able to study it in more detail with large telescopes.
And in the next ten years, we may even be able to get pictures of the planet.
NARRATOR: Proxima b is located just over four light‐years from Earth, a distance of about 25 trillion miles.
Despite the immense distance, an ambitious program is already underway to send spacecraft to study it.
Called Breakthrough Starshot, the program began as the joint brainchild of philanthropist Yuri Milner and famous cosmologist, the late Stephen Hawking.
For the first time in human history, we can do more than just gaze at the stars.
We can actually reach them.
NARRATOR: The goal of Breakthrough Starshot is to send tiny probes, mere centimeters thick, to the nearby planet.
We take a computer chip, energize it with laser beams, add a parachute.
The laser beam inflates the parachute and shoots the chip to the nearest star DENNIN: You deploy this and you basically just cruise.
You can possibly accelerate them fairly high, 20% the speed of light, and now getting to the nearest stars becomes very reasonable.
NARRATOR: But even traveling at such high speeds, the probes will take 20 years to complete their journey.
DENNIN: Light travels at a finite speed.
A very simple example of this is: the Sun is eight minutes away by the way light travels.
And most things are millions of light‐years away or thousands of light‐years away.
NICK POPE: If we pick up a signal from another civilization, uh, that's a big thing, but it's very distant.
They may never get here, we may never meet them, indeed, because of interstellar distances.
NARRATOR: If, as ancient astronaut theorists believe, Earth has been visited by alien entities coming from exoplanets only now being discovered, such entities would have to overcome the primary obstacle to space travel, the vast distance between objects.
You talk to many scientists, they'll say the same thing over and over again: "The distances between stars is so great, impossible that these aliens can visit us.
" Think for a moment, if they're a million years more advanced than us.
Just realize that modern technology, with all our wonders, is only about 300 years old.
NARRATOR: In recent years a growing number of astrophysicists have proposed that mankind's ability to unlock the mysteries of interstellar space travel might be much closer than previously thought.
And they believe the key is by using a theoretically possible structure known as a wormhole, a bend in space‐time that was first proposed by Albert Einstein, which could make travel times between stars not only shorter, but nearly instantaneous.
From the perspective of ultimate space travel, from my point of view, wormholes are simply, you take space‐‐ which can bend, in our theory of general relativity, the modern theory of gravity‐‐ you bend it around on itself so you have two layers that are apart and you connect them with a tunnel.
That tunnel is a wormhole.
They're commonly referred to as stargates because it gives you a way to get faster‐than‐light space travel across large distances.
NARRATOR: In theory, spacecraft that can create wormholes would be able to travel to distant exoplanets in just hours, possibly even seconds.
If extraterrestrial civilizations, far more advanced than humans, do exist, could they have discovered the secrets of space travel hundreds or perhaps thousands of years ago? And, if so, might they have even traveled here to planet Earth? Mount Palomar, California.
October 6, 2013.
A massive red star in the constellation Pegasus, ten times larger than our sun, explodes in a colossal supernova.
For the first time, scientists are able to witness the death of a giant star in real time.
But perhaps even more profound is the fact that, because the dying star is 160 million light‐years from Earth, astronomers are actually witnessing an event that took place 160 million years ago.
So one of the things to realize about astronomy is almost everything we are looking at is in the past 'cause the light doesn't travel instantly.
And a supernova is basically a star exploding.
If it had any planets around it, those are wiped out.
So, if there was a civilization or if there was life there, what we're seeing happen now happened very far in the past.
NARRATOR: The violent death of the star in Pegasus provides dramatic confirmation that the universe is both ancient and dynamic.
But ancient astronaut theorists believe such discoveries also provide reasons why an advanced extraterrestrial civilization might need to leave its home planet in search of other worlds.
When astronomers look out into the, the galaxy for dying suns, if there were beings who had an advanced civilization around this dying sun, they would, in theory, want to migrate to another solar system, to another planet that they could inhabit.
And it's quite possible that they did that and came to our planet, in fact.
HENRY: We know that billions of years from now, our own star, our sun, will go supernova, and we are very close now to being able to venture out or migrate to another habitable planet.
We can extrapolate that to ancient civilizations as well, ancient star civilizations, who knew that their own star was ready to go supernova and they embarked on a plan of planetary migration.
NARRATOR: Has the story of the cosmos been, in part, a story of the extraterrestrial migration of various advanced exoplanet life‐forms? As far as ancient astronaut theorists are concerned, the answer is a resounding yes.
And they claim the proof can be found by carefully examining everything from ancient carvings to the religious beliefs of ancient cultures from across the globe.
RRATOR: La Silla Observatory, Chile.
Astronomers announce the discovery of a large Earth‐like planet orbiting a star in the constellation Orion.
The planet is located in the Goldilocks zone, and the star it orbits is very similar to our own, making it an ideal candidate for extraterrestrial life.
KAKU: This is exciting 'cause we want to have a stable solar system like the planet Earth, that's the goal.
NARRATOR: As far as ancient astronaut theorists are concerned, this may be the most compelling exoplanet discovery yet, because throughout the world, numerous ancient cultures have told stories of otherworldly visitors coming from Orion, and even built their most important structures in alignment with that constellation.
TSOUKALOS: All around the world, there are these ancient structures that have been built in the form of Orion.
One example that comes to mind is the Great Pyramid of Giza, where the three pyramids are aligned according to the belt stars of Orion.
But also, in the American Southwest, there are structures that are in reference to Orion.
Native American myths talk specifically about visitors who came here from the Orion constellation.
The fact that Orion's constellation exists in magnificent archaeological monuments on Earth indicates to me that someone at some point taught our ancestors where and how to build these structures to illustrate where they are from.
NARRATOR: Is it possible that the exoplanet discovered in the Orion constellation is the same place where extraterrestrial visitors to Earth came from thousands of years ago? For ancient astronaut theorists, such an audacious notion is a very real possibility.
And they also insist that Orion is not the only star system from where aliens may have come.
CHILDRESS: All over the world, we have different cultures who identify with certain star systems as their origins.
The Quechua people of Peru, they believe that we're from the, the Pleiades.
In Africa, we have the Dogon, who are saying that, uh, our origin is actually with the Sirius star system.
Various cultures have imagined they have come from specific places, uh, the Pleiades or Sirius.
Well, that would be a planet near the star system, suggesting that, at least in mythology, there are planets there that could be inhabited by creatures like us.
NARRATOR: While many ancient cultures pointed to distant star systems as the homes of their gods, ancient astronaut theorists suggest that one of the oldest human civilizations, the Sumerians, left records of otherworldly beings that came from a planet right in our own solar system.
A planet that until very recently was thought not to exist.
New York City.
Author Zecharia Sitchin publishes his landmark book The 12th Planet.
The first of over a dozen books based upon Sitchin's translations of ancient Sumerian texts, The 12th Planet ultimately reshapes the way millions of people view the history of life on Earth.
In it, Sitchin claims that ancient Sumerians wrote about an extraterrestrial race that once visited Earth, the Anunnaki.
The term "Anunnaki" is essentially interchangeable with "extraterrestrial," because the word "Anunnaki" itself means "those who from the heavens came.
" MARTELL: There's a whole pantheon of Anunnaki, basically.
There was Anu, who is essentially the king of all the Anunnaki.
And then his two sons Enlil and Enki.
When we look in a lot of the Sumerian tablets, they seemed to have come from a much larger planet, a reddish, glowing planet.
HENRY: One of the great questions about the Anunnaki is: where did they come from? Well, Zecharia went back into the ancient texts and began to build a theory that the Anunnaki came from an as‐yet undiscovered 12th planet in our solar system that he called Nibiru.
MARTELL: Nibiru is described as a much larger planet than Earth.
And it has a very elliptical orbit.
More like a large egg‐shaped orbit.
The kicker here is that it goes once around the Sun every 3,600 years.
So a solar year for them is 3,600 of our years.
CHILDRESS: Sitchin believed that there was a time during this 3,600‐year orbit when this planet was actually relatively close to the Earth.
And Sitchin then theorized the Anunnaki would then fire their rockets and then they would come here to Earth.
And that this was how they were interacting with humans.
NARRATOR: For decades, astronomers claimed that no such planet could exist in our solar system.
But in 2016, Caltech astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown made a discovery that could prove this theory wrong.
Batygin and Brown were using an interesting method of looking for other planets in the solar system.
Namely, they were looking at dwarf planets and distant Kuiper belt objects to see how they move.
If they exhibit any strange behavior, astronomers can use that to theorize new planets.
And what they found was a theoretical planet‐sized mass, orbiting in a hugely elliptical orbit around the Sun.
CHILDRESS: Astronomers have often suspected, because of certain gravitational anomalies and things, that there is still some other planet far out in our solar system, uh, beyond Pluto.
Astronomers called this other planet Planet X.
And it could be a very large planet.
Astronomers cannot see it, but I would suspect that astronomers will eventually discover it and‐and prove that it exists.
NARRATOR: Batygin and Brown estimate that Planet X has a highly elliptical orbit and takes it thousands of years to make a single trip around our sun.
This matches exactly what Zecharia Sitchin found in his translation of the ancient Sumerian tablets, concerning an extra planet in our solar system.
HENRY: The thing about it is, is that if we discover Planet X, then we will also discover the Anunnaki.
So they're absolutely entwined.
The idea of the Anunnaki and the discovery of Planet X will prove one another.
NARRATOR: Could extraterrestrials have come to Earth from a planet within our own solar system? And if Earth has, in fact, played host to alien visitors from multiple worlds, what brought them here? According to the ancient Sumerian tablets, the Anunnaki valued one thing above all else gold.
The Trans Astronautic Corporation announces a partnership with NASA to develop a new venture in space‐‐ asteroid mining.
We incorporated TransAstra in 2015 when we saw that SpaceX and Elon Musk and Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos and other entrepreneurs were developing low‐cost, really effective ways to get in orbit.
Once we have rockets that can get into orbit inexpensively, then it makes sense to start building real industries in space.
And one of the first industries is asteroid mining.
Precious metals that we really value on the Earth‐‐ things like gold and platinum‐‐ they're called precious metals 'cause they're not around much.
Question is: where are they? And the answer is asteroids.
NARRATOR: Metals like gold, copper, and zinc have been mined on Earth for thousands of years and are vital to civilization.
But their supply is finite, in part because they are not native to this planet.
When the Earth was originally being formed, it was molten, and a lot of the precious metals were drawn towards the center of the Earth.
And through this molten process, all the heavy elements went down to the core of the Earth where we can't get access to them.
Then the Earth started to cool and form a cool crust, which was made of lighter materials.
NARRATOR: It is widely accepted that without access to metals, both technology and civilization would not have been possible.
But luckily for mankind, some 3.
8 billion years ago, it is estimated that trillions of asteroids crashed into the Earth and deposited a layer of heavy metals into the planet's now‐hardened crust.
These elements weren't actually from Earth originally.
All of these elements came to Earth via comets and asteroids that impacted our planet long ago and early in its history.
SERCEL: So all the precious metals that we mine on the Earth actually came from the asteroids.
NARRATOR: The bombardment of asteroids seeded Earth's crust with enough metals to make possible the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and today's technological civilization.
But many metals, including rare earth elements needed for high technology, are in increasingly short supply.
Because of this, many experts believe the asteroid belt may once again come to the rescue.
SUMMERS: You get a typical asteroid, a few hundred meters in diameter, it will have more of those rare earth elements than have been mined on Earth in all of human history.
NARRATOR: Of the more than 6,000 asteroids in NASA's database, it is estimated that even just the ten easiest to reach and mine would yield an astonishing $1.
5 trillion dollars in resources.
SUMMERS: The asteroid belt could provide for the needs of our civilization for many centuries.
Maybe thousands of years into their future.
SERCEL: The natural thing to do is to build spacecraft, go out to the asteroids, mine them, make goods out of the asteroids.
And we presume that other intelligences, if there are other intelligence, would think the same way we would.
And so anything that seems to make sense to us could make sense to others.
NARRATOR: If other intelligent life‐forms exist on nearby exoplanets, might they too be aware of the vast resources that exist in the asteroid belt and also on planet Earth? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes and suggest that Earth is rich in another commodity that would be of great value to any advanced civilization looking to mine for precious metals liquid water.
If aliens wanted to mine the asteroid belt, they'd need a base, somewhere to regroup and refuel.
As it happens, there's one pretty close, and it's called planet Earth.
BIRNES: Why aliens come here might well be because we're mostly water on planet Earth.
They stop here because they could break down water into hydrogen and oxygen as fuel.
So, if you have a craft that somehow uses hydrogen power, you have all the hydrogen you'll ever need.
It well could be that this is a way station for extraterrestrials.
NARRATOR: Is it possible that extraterrestrial civilizations have come to Earth not only as refugees from planets orbiting dying stars but also to mine precious metals or abundant natural resources like water? And if so, would that indicate that these Earth visitors might be physically very similar to ourselves? NARRATOR: La Silla Observatory.
Chile.
2009.
Astronomers identify a potentially habitable planet orbiting the star Gliese 667 C.
It's a large Earth‐like planet located firmly in the Goldilocks zone.
While evidence of life has yet to be discovered, scientists are able to speculate as to how life on this planet would evolve.
When we imagine life on other planets, we have to imagine that the environment on those planets will determine what the creature may look like.
DENNIN: In considering planets larger than Earth, the increased gravity will likely result in shorter complex life‐forms.
This results in a more stable, um, life‐form and protects against falls.
So life‐forms on larger planets would likely be smaller than those on smaller planets.
NARRATOR: Like Earth, a major evolutionary force on the planet is the strength of its sun.
Gliese 667 C is a red dwarf star, an M star, that's about 1.
4% as bright as our sun.
Because M‐dwarf stars are much smaller than our sun, they're much cooler and they give off a lot less light.
Because the star gives out such low light compared to our sun, any life on those planets would look much different.
BIRNES: Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that there is life on Gliese 667 C, such life would be living in kind of eternal darkness.
In order for life‐forms on a planet like that to see, they'd be like owls on planet Earth.
They would have very, very large eyes to capture as much light as possible.
CHILDRESS: They are going to develop eyes that are perhaps more like a insect's eyes, where you're seeing different light spectrums and heat signatures.
Something completely different than the way we see.
NARRATOR: For ancient astronaut theorists, these descriptions share a curious similarity to accounts reported by alleged alien abductees.
BIRNES: Alien abductees give very consistent accounts of some of the types of aliens they see.
The most consistent account is: four feet, short, gray, big‐headed, big‐eyed aliens.
And this would fit what we might expect with gravity so intense that you couldn't grow to six feet.
NARRATOR: Short, gray aliens with large, black eyes? Is it possible that the habitable planet orbiting Gliese 667 C is the home world of the beings known in the UFO community as the Greys? As far as ancient astronaut theorists are concerned, the planet orbiting Gliese 667 C is just one of a number of recently discovered worlds that could represent places of origin for extraterrestrials encountered both in modern times and in the distant past.
Mountain View, California.
April 2013.
NASA scientists at the Ames Research Center announce that the Kepler space telescope has discovered two new exoplanets that seem highly promising for life.
Named Kepler‐62e and 62f, they are so‐called water worlds, planets covered by an all‐encompassing global ocean.
DENNIN: The planets 62e and f are very exciting because they are ocean‐covered planets and in the habitable zone.
So if you're an ocean‐covered planet, it increases the chance that there's actually life on that planet.
BIRNES: If there is a water world with an atmosphere, with water, the creatures that may inhabit there are waterborne creatures.
They wouldn't necessarily look like human beings standing up on two legs and two arms.
They might look more like mermaids.
NARRATOR: Ancient astronaut theorists point out that many early civilizations reported sky visitors with amphibious, fish‐like characteristics.
Considered to be gods, they were seen in China, sub‐Saharan Africa, Central America, and Egypt, just to name a few.
These amphibian beings were said to interact with humans by day and retreat to rivers or lakes at night.
Could such entities have come from so‐called water worlds like Kepler 62‐e and f? POPE: Creatures like that, if they existed, would evolve on water worlds, planets with a global ocean, and it just so happens that in the ongoing search for exoplanets, many such worlds are being discovered.
CHILDRESS: These half‐human, half‐fish‐type gods that are like us but are still aquatic are coming from these water planets.
Extraterrestrials may be very attracted to planet Earth because the oceans are huge and vast.
So aquatic extraterrestrials could find a‐a‐a very happy home here on planet Earth.
KAKU: So, when we encounter alien life‐forms out in space, are they gonna look like us? No.
They could look completely different from us and have a different pathway to intelligence.
NARRATOR: In their search for habitable exoplanets, could mainstream scientists be discovering the home worlds of extraterrestrial visitors to Earth? For ancient astronaut theorists, the answer is a resounding yes, and they suggest that the search for life is about to be revolutionized once again as NASA prepares to launch an extraordinary new technology into space.
Astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the first exoplanet in 1992.
In the years since, more than 4,000 have been examined and categorized, and more are being found every day.
KAKU: Let's do a science experiment tonight.
Go outside, look up, and see all the thousands of stars you see.
Every single one, on average, has a planet going around them, and about one in 20 has an Earth‐like planet.
And so, when you look at the stars tonight, realize that somebody could be looking back at you from outer space.
NARRATOR: In 2021, NASA will launch the James Webb Space Telescope, a satellite that can do something once thought impossible: take detailed, color images of an exoplanet.
The James Webb Space Telescope is, um, a‐a different type of telescope than we've had in space before.
It will give us the ability to look at the reflected light from exoplanets and the infrared part of the spectrum and to search for the potential for biology being present.
NARRATOR: But when we look upon the images of other worlds, and possibly even the beings that inhabit them, what will we find? CHILDRESS: I think that what's really lying in store for humanity now is that we will prove that there are these exoplanets out there, that they have life and quite possibly intelligent life capable of coming to our solar system.
This will cause a sea change all over the world, within scientific communities and within the religious communities, too.
NARRATOR: If astronomers discover exoplanets with intelligent alien life‐forms, will they appear eerily familiar? Could they find amphibious humanoid beings, like the gods depicted in ancient times? Small, gray aliens like those reported by alleged abductees? And is it possible that some visitors, perhaps coming from worlds very similar to Earth, might look remarkably like us? Within established ancient astronaut theory, it's generally thought that these extraterrestrial beings coming from outside of our solar system were interacting with our society and they were manipulating our DNA and, in a sense, creating people on this planet, us, who look like them and are similar to them.
HENRY: As we discover more and more exoplanets, the implications for humanity are enormous.
I think it's very possible that we're on the verge of discovering our home planet, the place of our origins.
TSOUKALOS: The big revelation will not be, "Do they look like us?" But we look like them 'cause we are their offspring.
NARRATOR: As scientists continue their search for habitable worlds, are we on the verge of discovering not only alien life but the very extraterrestrials that came to Earth centuries ago? And will we find that the strange gods depicted by our ancestors as mythological creations were very real flesh and blood entities not so different from ourselves? Perhaps one day soon we will look at the satellite image of a distant exoplanet and see not only mankind's future home but one that could have once been inhabited by our ancient alien ancestors.