The Search for Life in Space (2016)

The Search for Life in Space (2016)

Steve Amezdroz’s The Search for Life in Space is a documentary specially-designed to be viewed in large IMAX theaters. However, it lands on the small screen through Netflix. It is an extravagant short film with a running time of 32 minutes, aiming to document the cosmic quests of humanity to search for life beyond Earth. 

With the aid of digital effects, the film explores territories only previously read about—allowing the complex mission to Jupiter and other portions of our Solar System a proper visualization for the “big screen”.

The film, like the missions it covers, is inspired by the appeal of Carl Sagan to send a message to space in hopes of being tracked and claimed by extraterrestrial civilizations. The famed astronomer sees it as the next step to humanity’s greatest achievement. 

Sagan and NASA’s Voyager Golden Record, two phonographic records carried and launched into space by two spacecraft during the ‘70s, is still searching for answers/ resolution up to now. It is an attempt to show “alien” forces a representation of what Earth is, filled with audio greeting files in 55 languages, images, sounds, cricket calls, and even Chuck Berry’s song “Johnny B. Goode”.

But this attempt is only one of many, as disclosed in The Search for Life in Space. The documentary also briefly covered the discovery of water geysers and rivers in the Saturn missions of Voyager and Cassini, the liquid water on Mars, and the detection of an Earth-like world at Proxima Centauri: the star that is reportedly near to our solar system.

The documentary could benefit from a longer running time, which would further magnify the missions presented. With the power of today’s visual effects, there’s no doubt that the film can creatively envision concepts that have limited resources.

The Search for Life in Space is something that demands to be seen on a larger screen. While it was not able to extensively document its subjects, one can still find merits in its technical achievements.