Blue Planet

Synopsis: On several Shuttle missions, Earth has been portrayed from places that nobody else could reach. We also get shown the different locations and the environmental problems mankind created there because of our wish to exploit our planet for our own benefit.
Director(s): Ben Burtt
Production: IMAX
Rotten Tomatoes:
42 min

Well, 16, the launch team wishes you

good luck and Godspeed.

We appreciate that,

and we can't do without you.

We have a launch commit,

and we have a lift-off.

The swing arm is moving back.

We've cleared the tower.

Roger, cleared the tower.

Houston is now controlling.

Not so long ago,

we left our Earth for the first time... explore a neighboring world

in the solar system.

Well, Houston, Sweet 16 has arrived.

Roger, 16, copy you loud and clear.

We found a fascinating place...

...but barren and lifeless.

We've stopped,

and let's take a gander around...

...and see which way we ought to head.

Dave, if we could make it out that far,

directly ahead of us.

Look at those large blocks.

You mean as we come down the slope,

yeah, at 12:

One sight stood out from all the others.

When we looked back

across the moon's horizon...

...we saw the Earth, our home...

...a tiny oasis...

...beckoning across

all those miles of empty space.

I'll tell you, it looks beautiful going away

and it'll look even better coming back.

To look at our Earth from the outside... to discover an entirely new planet.

We can see familiar landforms... Florida and the Bahamas.

But, what's most striking from space... that our world...

...unlike any other we know of... a world of water.

Two-thirds of it is covered by ocean...

...glistening in layers

of blue and turquoise...

...through a delicate filigree of cloud.

All of it is wrapped in a thin layer of air...

...shielding its surface

from the harsh radiation...

...and cold vacuum of space.

If it weren't for this fragile cocoon...

...our beautiful planet

would be as dry and lifeless... our nearest neighbors

in the solar system.

Mars has only a feeble atmosphere.

It's locked in a permanent ice age.

Venus, under a very dense atmosphere... hotter than an oven.

Nothing could live here.

As far as we know...

...only the Earth can support life.

To learn more

about the unique environment...

...which makes life possible here on earth...

...we're now returning to space,

in a variety of craft.

We call this:
"Mission to Planet Earth".

Shannon, come on up!

This is great.

Only a few hundred people

have actually seen the Earth from space.

Look at that.

Here, we can see it as a whole.

Floating beneath us...

...Sri Lanka and India.

But, now, we also see a planet...

...bathed in the light of a nearby star:

The Sun.

Ours is a world of constant change...

...shaped and reshaped

by nature's powerful forces.

Its blueness came out of the earth itself.

The ancient oceans were steamed

out of the interior... erupting volcanoes.

We know this one

as the Big Island of Hawaii.

Now, whole continents appear.

Europe is on the left.

Stretching beyond Gibraltar

to the horizon...

...the Mediterranean Sea.

On the right:

Deep in the heart of Africa...

...we come upon a land of forests,

lakes and rivers.

We're crossing over Lake Victoria...

...and the broad plain of the Serengeti.

Here, beneath us...

...our planet's systems of water,

earth and air...

...interact to sustain life.

To observe this complex environment

more closely...

...we'll drop down to the surface

of the strange red lake below.

This is Lake Natron.

It's hard to believe

any life could exist here.

But, in fact, the lurid color is the life itself.

The water is teeming with red algae

that feed on white soda...

...from nearby volcanoes.

Ash, spewing from these volcanoes

for millions of years...

...nourished the great grasslands

of the Serengeti...

...where a wondrous array

of species evolved.

Each depends in some way

upon the others.

Every link between animals and plants... a strand... the rich fabric of life on Earth.

Of all the creatures that evolved in Africa...

...only one stood upright.

Only one developed tools and language.

For about a million years...

...humans were hunters and gatherers.

Then we discovered farming.

Now, the same land could support

many more people.

But without the Earth's life-support system

of water and air...

...not a living thing could exist.

Two hundred miles above the Earth...

...there is no air.

This astronaut must wear a spacesuit.

It supplies the oxygen he needs...

...and insulates his body

from extreme heat and cold.

Inside, the orbiter functions

somewhat like a miniature Earth.

The environment is carefully balanced

to keep the astronauts comfortable.

One system controls the temperature.

Another supplies oxygen.

On Earth...

...the forests and oceans

absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale.

In space, the crew uses special canisters

to clean the air.

For a short time, this artificial system

supplies to the astronauts...

...what the Earth

has always provided for us.

Its natural systems slowly recycle the air...

...the water and even the rock.

In one cycle...

...heat from the sun evaporates water

from the ocean to form clouds.

Winds drive the clouds over land.

Rain from the clouds

falls back to the Earth...

...and then runs down to the sea...

...where the cycle begins once more.

Heat stored in the clouds

can drive them upwards...

...into towering thunderheads.

Inside them,

powerful electric charges are building.

You can see lightning on Earth from space.

Astronaut Charlie Bolden:

Probably, my favorite spectacular view

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Toni Myers

Toni Myers is a Canadian film editor, writer, director and producer, best known for her 3D IMAX work.Her most recent film is the 2016 A Beautiful Planet. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Blue Planet" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jun 2024. <>.

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