This blend of interviews and computer animated “what ifs” takes place on Darwin IV, a planet 6.5 light years from Earth, with 2 suns and 60% of Earth’s gravity.
Having identified Darwin as a world that could support life, Earth sends a pilot mission consisting of the Mothership Von Braun and three probes: Balboa, Da Vinci, and Newton. This robotic fleet is responsible for finding and assessing any life forms on Darwin IV. Initially, the expectation is to find microscopic life, but the probes soon find themselves in the middle of a developed ecosystem teeming with diversity of life of all sizes.
The drama on Darwin IV is motivated by real science missions, such as the NASA Origins Program, the NASA / JPL Planet-Finder Mission, and the European Space Agency’s Darwin Project.
Original air date: 2005 Discovery Channel