Exploring the Universe
Episode Number
Is There Other Life?
Producing Organization
Mayer-Skylar Productions
Contributing Organization
Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
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Episode Description
Dr. Harlow Shapley, world-famed astronomer and Dr. Philip Morrison, theoretical physicist at Cornell University, speculate with Dave Garroway as to whether there is life on other planets. In opening, Garroway explains that the same elements run throughout nature and the universe. He outlines what is necessary for life to exist - a sun that's the correct size and distance from a planet, proper temperature, gravitation, atmosphere, and water. Next, as he moves throughout solar system he shows that only the planets Mars and Venus are capable of maintaining life. Dr. Shapley explains that man is not unique at all in the chemical compounds that he is composed of. He says the odds are very high that there are other planets in the universe which can support life. He believes that at least one hundred million planets have life as we know it. Although we can't travel beyond our own solar system because of the time factor, radio contact is possible. Dr. Morrison explains how the radio telescope searches the heavens for a planet which might be beaming signals to earth. If such a message arrived, it would begin with simple arithmetic statements and become more complicated. It is even possible that an advanced civilization could send television pictures, preceded by a primer on how to decode and broadcast them. But Dr. Shapley says that he takes a dim view of the value of contacting other beings. He feels that it is too expensive. Dr. Morrison agrees but adds that man cannot rest until he finds out where and what kind of life exists in the universe. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Series Description
Exploring the Universe is an exciting look into the modern theories and advances of science from the possibilities of life on other planets to the creation of our universe. Host for the series is Dave Garroway. Mr. Garroway and his guests all prominent scientists convey their own awe and the wonder at the universe to the television audience. Additionally, they hope to develop a deeper understanding of the philosophy of science so that the lay citizen will be able to make responsible judgments concerning science and government. Each episode documents by pictures, film, and fascinating experiments, provides a glimpse of a provocative field. About the series, Mr. Garroway says, I have long felt that no one has really lived who has not looked into the eyepiece of a telescope. I hope Exploring the Universe conveys some of the feeling of excitement that science brings to me. Exploring the Universe was produced under a grant from the National Science Foundation, and is based on but is not a duplication of the American Foundation for Continuing Educations adult reading-discussion series, Exploring the Universe. Exploring the Universe is a production of Mayer-Sklar Productions, which consists of 11 half-hour episodes originally recorded on videotape. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Talk Show
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
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Director: Kane, Dennis B.
Executive Producer: Vaughan, Charles
Guest: Shapely, Harlow
Guest: Morrison, Philip
Host: Garroway, David Cunningham
Producer: Cooper, Lester
Producing Organization: Mayer-Skylar Productions
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_2051 (WNET Archive)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Duration: 00:28:58?
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2317089-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 16mm film
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive
Identifier: [request film based on title] (Indiana University)
Format: 16mm film
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Chicago: “Exploring the Universe; 9; Is There Other Life?,” 1963-00-00, Thirteen WNET, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 30, 2023,
MLA: “Exploring the Universe; 9; Is There Other Life?.” 1963-00-00. Thirteen WNET, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 30, 2023. <>.
APA: Exploring the Universe; 9; Is There Other Life?. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from