Introduction: Earth - the Power of the Planet: Rare Earth (02:11)
Iain Stewart will examine the four powerful forces that have created the world. Earth is the most unique planet in the solar system because it creates the perfect conditions to maintain life.
Alien Life (02:39)
Scientists search for other life forms using array radio telescopes; the Milky Way has billions of stars. The "rarer theory" dictates that simple life is possible on other planets, but complex life is rare.
Giant-Impact Hypothesis (03:20)
Theia collides with Earth, leaving a ring of debris. When Earth consumes a part of its twin, its gravity dramatically increases, keeping the atmosphere intact. The atmosphere provides protection, drives the climate, and keeps the planet warm.
Meteor Craters (03:54)
Stewart tours Meteor Crater Natural Landmark in Arizona. Other craters exist in Namibia and Brazil. Erosion dissolves evidence of past events.
Dr. Phil Bland scours the Nullarbor Plain in Australia for space rocks. As a meteorite travels through Earth's atmosphere, it whittles down to a small size or burns up. Shooting stars are evidence of erosion.
Collision with Theia (05:23)
Earth's core generates a magnetic field that deflects solar wind and regulates the planet's temperature. Volcanic eruptions release carbon dioxide, necessary for complex life. The moon provides tidal zones and seasons.
Corner Reflectors (03:58)
At the McDonald Observatory, Jerry Wiant fires a laser at the moon to measure its distance from Earth. Every year, the moon moves 1.5 inches away from the planet. The collision with Theia ensures atmospheric protection, a magnetic shield, and climatic stability.
Our Solar System (04:25)
Life is possible because of Earth's distance from the sun. The larger the star, the quicker it burns and dies. Jupiter's gravitational field attracts flying objects that could hit Earth.
Earth's Benefits (06:45)
Complex life requires the right type of star, a neighbor to attract meteorites, and water in liquid form. Life needs a catastrophe to evolve. Cenotes possess an underground river system.
Chicxulub Crater (02:57)
Dinosaurs die out after molten particles fall back on Earth after impact. Millions of years later, cenotes form on the rim. Fires erupt across the planet; only rodents survive.
Natural Disasters (02:05)
Catastrophes force evolution forward. Planets like Earth must be rare; it has taken four billion years to create our world.
Climate Change (07:02)
Humans dominate the planet; the burning of fossil fuels increases temperatures; the Anthropocene has begun. Dr. Brian Fisher studies new species of animals in Madagascar's forest.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide through their leaves. The baobabs are sacred to the Madagascar people. Deforestation and fossil fuel use causes climate change.
Impact of Humans (04:26)
The Mayans built Nohoch Mul over 1,000 years ago. Life adapted and evolved after the Chicxulub Crater crashed on Earth.
Credits: Earth - the Power of the Planet: Rare Earth (00:34)
Credits: Earth - the Power of the Planet: Rare Earth
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