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NOVA: Origins

Cover art for NOVA: Origins, which has a faint image of the Milky Way and night sky, with a space probe in the foreground looking back.

Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered? NOVA presents some startling new answers in Origins, a groundbreaking four-part NOVA miniseries.

As the host of Origins, Tyson leads viewers on a cosmic journey to the beginning of time and to the depths of space, in search of the first stirrings of life and its traces on other worlds. The series’ first hour, “Origins: Earth is Born”, gives viewers a spectacular glimpse of the tumultuous first billion years of Earth—a time of continuous catastrophe.

Episode two, “Origins: How Life Began,” zeroes in on the mystery of exactly how it happened. Join the hunt for hardy microbes that flourish in the most unlikely places: inside rocks in a mine shaft two miles down, inside a cave dripping with acid as strong as a car battery’s, and in noxious gas bubbles erupting from the Pacific Ocean’s floor. The survival of these tough microorganisms suggests they may be related to the planet’s first primitive life forms.

Hour three starts with a bang—the Big Bang in which everything began. “Origins: Back to the Beginning” explores how the colossal, mind-boggling forces of the early universe made it possible for habitable worlds to emerge.

In episode four, “Origins: Where are the Aliens?,” Tyson explores such provocative questions as: Would “E.T.s” resemble “us” or the creatures of science fiction? And are there planets on which life can flourish rare or common in our universe?

Available From

Publisher details


December 2004


240 minutes