Discovery HD Theater takes extraterrestrial coverage to the next level to the high definition level as it presents ALIEN PLANET on May 14, 2005 at 8:00 pm, the networks first ever simulcast event with the Discovery Channel. Continuing its out-of-this-world theme, on May 18 from 8-11:00 pm, Discovery HD Theater will present THE SCIENCE OF STAR WARS, a special that reveals various types of Star Wars-like equipment in use today and in the development stages. The HD version of SCIENCE OF STAR WARS premieres on the Discovery Channel May 16-18, and is hosted by none other Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and himself (with help from R2-D2). The program will explore the real scientific underpinnings of the STAR WARS franchise.
ALIEN PLANET transports viewers on a high def, virtual mission into the future to Darwin IV, a planet 6.5 million light years from Earth with two suns and 60% gravity. Through computer-generated imagery, animation and visual effects, the planet reveals unexpected and startling (as their names suggest) life forms such as the Daggerwrist, Flying Skewer, Prong Heads, Trunk Suckers and more.
Three probes each with the artificial intelligence of a four-year-old child DaVinci (aka Leo), Newton (a/k/a Ike), and Balboa, (which explodes on contact with the new planet) explore the planet, uncovering life forms, processing data, sending it back to scientists on earth. Originally programmed to explore alien pond scum, Leo and Ike find themselves in the path of the enormous Sea Strider (a creature that actually eats from mouths on the bottoms of their giant feet) and gawking at giant Gourd Trees, balanced on tiny stilt roots. Leo and Ike have adventures with Arrow Tongue (a life form about the same a size as a T-Rex with a roar like thunder), Unth (the planets dominant herbivore, named for the sound made when he exhales through dorsal vents) and even get caught in a violent hurricane of salt.
ALIEN PLANET also provides in-depth scientific commentary to explain how life could exist in other worlds. The special features on-camera interviews with Michio Kaku (string theorist, City University of New York), Jack Horner (paleontologist, Montana State University), Stephen W. Hawking (physicist, author, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME), J. Craig Venter (mapper of the human genome) and George Lucas (film maker). These experts and many more mission scientists, biologists, physicists and astrobiologists were consulted on topics as varied as spaceships, planetary atmosphere and life forms to provide the scientific underpinnings of the specials.
THE SCIENCE OF STAR WARS offers high definition viewers yet another look at the extraordinary world of outer space. Three hour-long episodes of THE SCIENCE OF STAR WARS will be packaged on Discovery HD Theater as HD from a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Episode one, Man and Machine, takes a close look at how robots are currently used to clean the house, walk the dog and identify life in the rubble caused by an earthquake. It examines how droids will soon replace astronauts on dangerous spacewalks and act as flying R2-D2's to people living in space. And the future of artificial intelligence makes Darth Vader possible as scientists give prosthetics a mind of their own.
Space Cowboys is the title of THE SCIENCE OF STAR WARS episode two, which looks at high tech methods of mobility and communication. The show theorizes that in the near future hovercraft may be commonplace vehicles. Various other vehicles are still in prototype stages, but H2O cars and HyWire cars (hydrogen and by wire) are here today and equipped with technology able to sense traffic patterns or danger ahead. This episode poses the question of how tomorrows hot rods might look.
The final episode of THE SCIENCE OF STAR WARS, War, Weaponry and The Force, examines how STAR WARS technology is changing the military. Not quite a clone army yet, but the Future Force Warrior (FFW-Army) and the Berkely Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX) are equipping fighters with Storm Trooper-like gear. Laser Blasters being tested by the U.S. military are a directed energy weapon that uses a laser beam to send an electric charge to the target. The Close Quarters Shock Rifle projects an ionized gas or plasma toward the target, and it can neutralize a whole group of attackers, and kill their electronic ignition getaway systems at the same time. This episode also explores the culture of Chinas Shaolin monks, martial arts experts whose philosophy of harmony with nature has led some to call them real life jedi knights.
The producer of ALIEN PLANET is John Copeland (BABYLON 5). Executive Producer for the Discovery Channel is Tomi Bednar-Landis. Executive producers for Evergreen Films are Pierre de Lespinois and Frances LoCascio. Animation and visual effects by Meteor Studios. The writers are Peter Crabbe and Steve Eder.
THE SCIENCE OF STAR WARS is produced by Evergreen Productions for Discovery Channel in association with Lucasfilm. Exec producers for Evergreen Films are Pierre de Lespinois and France LoCascio. The exec producer for Discovery is Tomi Bednar-Landis.
Discovery HD Theater (www.discovery.com/hd) is a 24-hour high-definition (HD) network from the creators of the Discovery Channel. Offering compelling real-world entertainment in virtually all categories of entertainment created by Discovery Networks, Discovery HD Theater showcases programming about adventure, nature, wildlife, science and technology, world culture and more all designed to provide viewers with the highest-quality television experience available. Discovery HD Theater is available through DIRECTV and DISH Network and the majority of cable companies nationwide, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Brighthouse Networks, Insight, Mediacom and numerous others.