Second Genesis: The Quest For Life Beyond Earth
When Voyager launched in 1977, few besides Carl Sagan believed that the search for extraterrestrial life was anything more than fantasy. But in the decades that followed, new discoveries—volcanoes on Io, a liquid ocean on Europa, and nitrogen geysers on Triton, to name just a few—have turned that fantastical pursuit into a bona fide scientific endeavor. Second Genesis follows planetary scientist Carolyn Porco as she explores what it takes to look for life beyond Earth, and what conditions are required for life to exist. Porco makes the case that Saturn’s moon Enceladus—with its plumes of water vapor spewing into space, confirmed organic materials, and evidence of hydrothermal vents at the bottom of its liquid ocean—is the most promising place to look. Could Enceladus be the key to proving once and for all that life is not unique to Earth? And what it would mean—both scientifically, and spiritually—if we found evidence of a true second genesis right here in our own galactic back yard?
TOP IMAGE: The plume emanating from Saturn's moon Enceladus was discovered in 2005 by Cassini. Made up mostly of water vapor, the plume is fed by a liquid water ocean under the icy surface, and generated by geysers that originate in the "tiger stripes," a series of fractures in the moon's southern hemisphere. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.
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Tony Gerber, Producer
Writer and filmmaker Tony Gerber is a two-time Emmy recipient and has written and directed over a dozen documentaries for National Geographic, shot in some of the most remote and dangerous regions of the world. He most recently directed CNN Films’ We Will Rise, chronicling former First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to Africa to raise awareness of the importance of girl’s education, featuring Meryl Streep, Isha Sesay and Freida Pinto. The film was a 2017 recipient of an American Television Academy honor. His National Geographic Channel documentary about the fight to protect mountain gorillas, Explorer: Battle for Virunga, was a 2017 recipient of a Genesis Award, the Humane Society’s top honor for bringing critical animal protection issues to the public. His feature article on Jane Goodall (Becoming Jane) will be the October 2017 cover story in National Geographic Magazine. He recently co-conceived and created films for a ground-breaking multimedia installation in Reading, Pennsylvania called This is Reading. In 2005, he founded Market Road Films, a NY-based production company with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. Gerber is a member of the faculty of the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Steiner Studios.
Market Road Films, Production Company
Market Road Films is a New York-based, full-service independent production company founded in 2003 by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage and Emmy Award-winning film director Tony Gerber. The company’s mission is to bring evocative storytelling to unusual and untold stories—using both fiction and nonfiction techniques. Market Road most recently produced (CNN Films') We Will Rise, chronicling former First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to Africa to raise awareness of the importance of girls' education. The film features Meryl Streep, Isha Sesay, and Freida Pinto, and was a 2017 recipient of an American Television Academy honor. Other recent work includes Explorer: Battle for Virunga (National Geographic Channel), a documentary about the fight to protect mountain gorillas. The film received a 2017 Genesis Award from the Humane Society, their top honor for publicizing critical animal protection issues. From characters as riveting as a bush pilot flying aid into war-torn regions of Congo, to locations as arresting as the US Army’s urban war simulation in the California desert, Market Road has produced films for CNN, National Geographic, and PBS. In addition to documentary work, Market Road has produced TV spots, music videos, commercials, museum installations and projections for downtown and Broadway theatre.