We're on episode 3 of the new series hosted by Brian Cox and I've found it really good. The show tells us mostly what we already know about our solar system and its planets but with new insights and thoughts. It also proposes some interesting questions in terms of life elsewhere, probably a more philosophical talk of sorts I guess. Naturally there is no definitive answer and there likely never ever will be because of the timescales involved, but all the observed evidence in our planet and solar system and how every major planet has played a roll in turning it into what it is today points to intelligent life as we know it being extremely rare. The exact order of events that happened in our solar system for Earth to be allowed to evolve complex life from early geological activity to biological has been precision right down to the quantum mechanics level. Nearly 4 billion years ago Mars was similar to the Earth of today (just with less oxygen) and back then, Earth was a toxic planet. Then Mars' inner core started to stop, its magnetic field went away and the solar wind from the Sun stripped away its atmosphere causing the planet to die. To put into perspective how this game of chance played out, Jupiter could have destroyed us had Saturn not intervened with its massive gravitational pull during the early solar system halting Jupiter's early journey inward toward the Sun. It then started to back away and now resides in its fixed orbit in the solar system. (Mercury needs to calm down!) And ever since, Jupiter has been protecting Earth by shepherding asteroids away from our path, although every so often a few slip through, like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs + 75% of all life on Earth 66 million years ago along with much smaller ones that have created massive craters on Earth over the last few thousand years, still powerful impacts that can devastate. Without spending ages writing it's probably best to just watch the 3 episodes so far on iPlayer and then come back to this thread. I somewhat understood before just how lucky we are to be here, but the recent shows like these have made it much more digestible especially with data collected in recent years. Our entire solar system is a cosmic dancefloor. If one key player is taken away or made smaller or bigger, everything changes. So whilst there are super Earths in other solar systems out there, there's no chance we will ever know if they contain early basic forms of life that have yet to evolve into complex and then intelligent life. We aren't even a type 1 civilisation on the Kardashev scale, and we are unlikely to ever meet or detect a type 2 or type 3 civilisation, if a type 3 is using all of the energy generated by their host star and galaxy, then they'd appear invisible to us. Maybe that's what's in the great void? Anyway, we're all lucky to be here. Do something with your lives, make the most of it!