Alien Encounters

“Part I: The Message.” Premieres Tuesday, March 13 at 10PM E/P

“Part II: The Arrival.” Premieres Tuesday, March 20 at 10PM E/P

In two dramatic hours, Alien Encounters lays out a plausible hypothetical scenario for a first contact event. What would really happen if we got a message from space? How will humans react when we learn a spacecraft is on its way to Earth? Will humans learn from aliens, or become colonial subjects?

Some of the world’s leading astrophysicists, astrobiologists, sci-fi writers and and futurists help unravel the scientific, cultural and psychological impact of this world-changing global event.

Alien Encounters is made in cooperation with SETI Institute (the highly respected organization devoted to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), which was founded in the early 1960s by renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan.

Alien Encounters highlights interviews with a host of experts including Carl Sagan’s son, Nick, who is now following in his father’s footsteps wondering, “How will we meet our galactic neighbors?” Also featured are Jill Tarter, Director of SETI Institute; Frank Drake, renowned astronomer; Seth Shostak, senior astronomer for SETI Institute; Neil Degrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium; and many more of the world’s leading science minds.



Part One: The Message

 Alien Encounters : Humanity’s Evolutionary Outcome
What would receiving a message from an alien civilization tell us about human evolution, and about surviving the most serious problems facing our planet?


Alien Encounters : Do Billions of Planets Mean More Earths?
Since launching in 2009, the Kepler program has detected hundreds of previously unknown planets. How many of them are Earth-like, and what does that mean for the probability of intelligent life beyond our solar system?


Alien Encounters : Earth’s Welcome Mat
SETI Institute is Earth’s “welcome mat” for extra-terrestrial intelligence, where dozens of scientists are examining signals from space, and exploring our evolutionary history to find out if life could have happened elsewhere in the universe.


Alien Encounters : Frank Drake and Nick Sagan Meet Again
Author Nick Sagan hasn’t seen his godfather, Frank Drake, in over 30 years. We capture their reunion – and find out how Drake became friends with Nick’s famous father, Carl Sagan, in this exclusive clip.

Part Two: The Arrival

Alien Encounters : Earth’s Most Alien Places
Bizarre creatures called “extremophiles” are found in some of Earth’s most toxic and intense environments. How can studying these life forms help us understand alien life?


Alien Encounters : Will Aliens Have Bodies?
Will ETs look like us? Will they resemble giant insects? Scientists debate how various environments could have created life forms beyond our wildest imagination.