‘One Strange Rock’ leaves the viewer to ponder what kind of “fine-tuning” went into making the “perfect home” that is Earth.
VIDEO: Trailer for National Geographic’s ‘One Strange Rock’
The new National Geographic television series about the earth, One Strange Rock, doesn’t mention God.
It doesn’t have to.
“I’m going to tell you about the most incredible place. It might be the weirdest place in the whole universe,” intones series host and actor Will Smith, in the first episode. “You know what? You’re walking on it.”
The series, which launched on March 26, aims to explore what makes Earth the unique home for life that it is. At a time when popular cosmology emphasizes the possibility of other earth-like planets and the likelihood of life on those other worlds, One Strange Rock goes in the opposite direction, stressing what it is that makes Earth exceptional.
The first episode, “Gasp,” reveals how the planet produces enough oxygen for mankind and all over living creatures to survive. To dramatize the overall message, the series is narrated by eight former astronauts who offer insights from their time in space. “There is nothing more natural than breathing yet, as far as we know, this is the only planet where that happens,” says astronaut Chris Hadfield.
What makes breathable oxygen so important, the episode explains, is that it mixes with our food to create the energy needed to power “larger, more complex” organisms such as ourselves. Without it, the biggest life forms you’d get would be pinhead-sized. To underscore the point, we are shown an utterly otherworldly landscape in Ethiopia—a bright yellow, green, and orange mishmash of acid pools that looks like moldy soup. Without breathable air or fresh water, little can exist there—apart from the bacteria that feed off of heavy metals.
The story of Earth’s oxygen also has its origins in Africa. Here the show takes readers on an epic journey that begins in the continent’s deserts, where wind storms send their dust sailing across the Atlantic. That wind-blown sand turns out to be “the perfect fertilizer” for the rainforests, which produce enough oxygen for a population more than 20 times the 7 billion men and women that current inhabit it. And yet, none of it makes it to our lungs, the show explains. Instead, it is consumed by all of the Amazon’s living creatures.
This article continues at [Aleteia] National Geographic series implicitly makes case for Creator