Stargate SG-1: True Science (2006) - full transcript

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Welcome to Stargate Command.

I'm Amanda Tapping and I play
Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter.

Samantha is chief scientist
and leader of an elite team called SG-1.

SG-1's mission
is to travel through an amazing device...

...called the stargate to planets
on the far reaches of the galaxy.

There, they fight unspeakably evil aliens,
commune with higher beings...

...and use fantastic technology.

Oh, and of course, they often
save humanity and the galaxy...

...from complete annihilation.

On the show Stargate SG-1 we take
pride in pushing science fiction...

...to the limits of human imagination.



Alien parasites, parallel universes,
time travel...

...wormholes through space and time.

Some might say it's just fantasy...

...but amazingly,
it doesn't mean it's not true.

In the next hour
we're going on a different journey.

Not just through the set of Stargate,
but also into the world of real science...

...to see that what seems
like crazy sci-fi fantasies...

...might actually be true.

MAN 1: Scene 51, take three.
MAN 2: Action.

Coming out of hyperspace.

MAN 2:
"I'm dropping us out of hyperspace."

- Is that what I say?
MAN 3: Okay, we'll go again from--

STEWART:
Science fiction and science...

...seem to be getting closer and closer
all the time...



...and I think
there's a good reason for that.

They're both about
the human imagination.

They're both about asking
"What if?" questions.

They're both about
trying to understand our place...

...in a very complex universe.

Let me see you looking forward.

COOPER: We read the newspaper
and current science magazines...

...watch the news, look for things
that are sort of interesting.

Hot-button issues that often come up
and will inspire us.

Calculating minimal prime distance
for warhead launch.

WRIGHT: You read up on black holes,
you read Stephen Hawking...

...and most of it goes over my head...

...but the fun part of what you read is,
"Oh, I can use that.

That'll be fun for the story."

Okay, I've got it.
Relaying the information.

STEWART: Science fiction takes
a narrative root. It's storytelling...

...but the people writing the stories have
to solve the same kind of problems...

...that the scientists do.

And in many cases,
I think the science-fiction writers...

...are coming closer to the truth
than the scientists.

It's so grounded
in true scientific terminology...

...and things that can actually happen
in the universe...

...that for the people that are more
knowledgeable and just don't watch it...

...for the fantasy escapism
can find their hook into it...

...in the actual science of it.

TAPPING:
Science is great...

...but in fiction you still need a battle
between good and evil.

[SCREAMING]

From the very beginning of the series...

...SG-1
have had to face humanity's nemesis.

A race of aliens so evil...

...they won't rest
till they've enslaved the entire galaxy.

They have filled our nightmares.
They have made us take terrible risks.

At times we thought
we had lost the battle.

They are the Goa'uld.

The idea of this creature burrowing
inside your body, taking over your brain...

...and dominating your behavior
is one of the scariest things...

...that occurred in Stargate.

It happened to my character, Samantha,
early on in the show...

...and let me tell you, she hated it.

Sci-fi writers have come up with some
pretty evil aliens over the years...

...but the Goa'uld must certainly rank
as one of the nastiest.

In true sci-fi style, the snake-like parasite,
the Goa'uld, took over the minds...

...of their army of warrior-slaves,
the Jaffa...

...and then set about
trying to rule the galaxy.

But one brave Jaffa slave, Teal'c,
saw the truth and broke free...

...from the parasite's control.

He joined up with us,
the team from stargate...

...and the battle for the universe began.

Exciting stuff, eh?

This parasitical race of beings
could only survive in a host body.

So they actually went to ancient Egypt
and acquired a bunch of human hosts...

...inhabited their bodies
and controlled them...

...until they're mature enough
to take on a permanent host.

So basically, a Jaffa is an incubator
for the larval form of the Goa'uld.

COOPER: it's not something
you can shoot or run away from...

...it's inside of you
and it's controlling you.

And there's this icky factor to it,
you know.

It's gross. They're pretty disgusting,
sneaky things...

...that sort of burrow their way
into the back of your head.

TAPPING: As an intelligent
and totally evil parasite...

...the Goa'uld
are terrifying adversaries.

But we don't have to look far
on our own planet...

...to find creatures
equally as horrifying.

JANOVY: if you were a visitor
from outer space and came to Earth...

...and really studied
its living organisms objectively...

...then went back home...

...what would you say
to the folks back home?

"Most of what's living down there
is a parasite."

TAPPING: Professor Janovy
is the world's leading expert...

...on a very creepy kind of creature.

JANOVY: This is Moniezia expansa,
a tapeworm from sheep.

TAPPING:
At the University of Nebraska...

...he runs one of
the world's most unusual museums...

...with over 150,000
stomach-churning exhibits.

JANOVY:
These are Fascioloides magna...

...which came out of the liver
of a white-tailed deer.

TAPPING:
Each of the creatures in his museum...

...succeeds by sucking
the very life force...

...from another living creature.

JANOVY: This is Ascaris lumbricoides,
or roundworms.

These worms infect about
one out of every four people on earth.

TAPPING: That's the one school kids get,
remember?

You see, we humans
are a perfect snug and warm place...

...for parasites.

This is Taenia saginata,
the beef tapeworm...

...that human beings get
from eating uncooked beef.

I think if we laid that out on a table
and measured it...

...it would probably be
15 or 20 feet long, easily.

And humans
can have any number of these things.

TAPPING: Disgusting parasites like this
are nature's vampires.

They take advantage of other creatures,
using their body as a free lunch.

They are ruthless, taking what they need,
reproducing, and then moving on.

And revoltingly, we humans
are the perfect place for them to live.

Yuck!

JANOVY: There are a big variety
of parasites that infect human beings.

Flies, ticks,
flukes that live in the bloodstream.

There are large nematodes
that live in your intestine...

...there are parasites in your mouth.

Some of them cause a very destructive
erosion of the skin...

...others are very damaging to the spleen
and to the liver.

There are at least 200 species that,
some of us at least...

...have been infected with
over the years.

TAPPING: What makes the Goa'uld
so particularly scary...

...is that they totally take over
their human host.

But you guessed it, it turns out
this crazy science-fiction fantasy...

...is actually based on real science.

There are many reported cases in nature
of parasites being able to change...

...the behavior of their hosts.

These are pictures
of Dicrocoelium dentriticum.

They live part of their life cycle
within an ant's body and brain.

It's a parasite just like the Goa'uld,
only a bit smaller.

It's larvae digs its way
to the ant's brain...

...where it perverts
the ant's natural instincts.

So instead of the ant
cowering safely in the undergrowth...

...like any good ant would...

...it suddenly becomes compelled
to self-destruct...

...by climbing
to the top of a blade of grass...

...where passing sheep will eat it.

Once in the sheep...

...the parasite can continue
its revolting life cycle.

Oh, but it doesn't just happen in ants.
Oh, no.

Hold on to your stomachs,
because scientists suggest...

...that some parasites
can actually make us humans...

...do stuff we can't control.

JANOVY: if, for example, a pig
tapeworm, that human beings can get...

...from eating uncooked pork...

...those worms form cysts
in various parts of the body...

...including the brain...

...and as a result
we have all kinds of behavioral changes.

Dizziness, lethargy,
sometimes loss of vision.

So this is another case...

...in which our behavior
is altered by a parasite.

TAPPING: So if tapeworms
can change our behavior...

...and make us dizzy and tired...

...is it possible
that an alien parasite like the Goa'uld...

...could control our minds completely?

The evolutionary rules say
that there has to be a reason for it.

So maybe infection
with a certain kind of tapeworm...

...might make us become evil
or criminal...

...if there is a reason that has to do
with reproductive success...

...then sure, why not?

TAPPING:
Scared yet? You should be.

Because as it turns out,
Professor Janovy believes...

...we might not be
the dominant creatures on Earth.

It's the parasites.

JANOVY: They infect everything,
they are more diverse...

...they are successful
at occupying environments...

...that we would consider
not necessarily places to live.

In some cases they control populations.

It's the most successful way of life
on Earth.

Does she please you, my love?

This stargate forms the battleground
in our struggle...

...between the powers of good
and the powers of evil.

On our side are Stargate Command.
Helping us are various aliens...

...like the Asgard, the Tok'ra,
and humans all around the galaxy.

Against us
are the terrifying parasites the Goa'uld...

...and the unstoppable
and insatiable Replicators.

At first, we at the SGC fought them
with our low-tech Earth guns...

...but pretty soon we discovered these.

This is a staff weapon.
And this is a zat gun.

One blast and your enemy is stunned.
Two, and they die.

You may think
this is pure fiction...

...but it turns that the truth
is much more strange.

MAN:
Stay on the ground, stay on the ground!

TAPPING:
What you're seeing here is the Taser.

It's a hand-held gun
that brings criminals to their knees...

...by blasting them with a fierce jolt
of 50,000 volts of electricity.

The amazing thing is that the Taser...

...can knock down a suspect
without killing, or even harming them.

But the U.S. Government...

...are secretly developing something
far more powerful.

It's called the Active Denial System.

This classified new weapon works
by emitting a beam of microwaves...

...like the ones you get
in your microwave oven...

...but much more concentrated.

It is, so the experts say,
a perfect ray gun.

So with ray-gun weapons
that stun already in development...

...are guns that can actually
disintegrate a person too far-fetched?

In order to vaporize you I'd have to heat
you up to a hundred million degrees.

The energy to do that is immense.
Literally immense.

And so it's hard to imagine
in a hand-held device...

...that you'd be able
to do those sorts of things.

Directed-energy weapons
can be useful in certain contexts.

They can burn things,
they can destroy electronics...

...they can blind people.
That sort of thing.

MAN:
And three, two, one, and action.

I'm dropping us out of hyperspace.

There's been a change of flight plans.

TAPPING: Not that I want to
show off or anything...

...but Stargate is currently one of the
longest-running science-fiction series...

...in the world,
watched by nearly 20 million people...

...in over 80 countries.

Not bad, eh?

Make sure you see Ben
by the time he stops.

COOPER: it's amazing
that people enjoy the show...

...because, really,
the heroes of the show...

...are screwups
who are always causing, you know...

...horrible problems for themselves
and everyone else.

I guess it's the fact
that they occasionally make up for it...

...or get out of those problems
that keep people coming back.

Ben, can I see you in first position?

MAN: So we see the one guy?
- Yeah.

TAPPING: The series is shot
in over nine sound stages...

...in Vancouver, Canada.

The show employs a crew and cast
numbering more than 500...

...and its punishing schedule
turns out one episode every seven days.

CARTER: I found a way
around all the security protocols.

Everything's set.

TAPPING:
That's pretty fast.

But you wouldn't know it
by the atmosphere here on set.

MAN: And three, two, one,
and action.

Stop the oppression.

[ALL LAUGHING]

JUDGE: As you see,
we don't take ourselves very seriously...

...and there's none of that,
you know...

...TV-star attitude.
It won't be tolerated at all.

If you got a joke, "action" has to wait,
you know.

And so it's always about laughter first.

I mean...

MAN:
That's a cut.

At the heart of the adventures...

...Samantha Carter and SG-1
get involved in...

...and what makes this show
particularly unique is this.

The stargate itself.

It's an amazing device
inscribed with unusual symbols.

It looks beautiful,
but what makes it truly amazing...

...is that it's a gateway
through time and space.

What the hell is going on?

Stargate imagines
that there are thousands...

...if not more, devices--

Ring-shaped devices,
not unlike the one behind me...

...all over the galaxy,
by which you can travel...

...from planet to planet
simply by stepping through it...

...and it takes you instantaneously
from one planet to another.

In fact, I think
the stargate is one of the reasons...

...the show's been running for so long.

It's because the stargate itself
is a terrific device for storytelling.

And the fact of the matter is this is,
you know, it's a great prop.

I mean, it's a doorway,
because essentially it's-- Every week it's:

"Where are we gonna go?" You know?

It's like getting into a roller coaster
with your friends.

And you wanna
take that ride this week.

TAPPING: In the series this stargate is
one of thousands throughout the galaxy...

...created by a mysterious
and powerful ancient civilization.

You can cross limitless space
at the blink of an eye...

...just by going through one gate
and out of another.

It really is instant interplanetary travel.

So how does it work?

As Samantha Carter
is always trying to explain...

...to the usually clueless Jack O'Neill...

...a stargate works
by creating an artificial wormhole...

...through the space-time continuum.

That's a tunnel in time and space
through which we can travel...

...covering huge distances
in just a short moment.

So is this a flight of fantasy...

...or a genuine piece
of contemporary science?

Well, the truth may shock you.

Lawrence Krauss is a professor
of physics and astronomy...

...and leading expert
on Einstein's theory of relativity.

Some of the implications
of Einstein's famous theory...

...are truly mind-blowing.

One of them
is that empty space can bend.

Now, I know that's a really hard idea
to get your head around...

...but it's true.

Emptiness can be made to curve.

See, Einstein told us
that mass or energy curves space.

And if I take this bowling ball here,
and this two-dimensional universe...

...you can see when I put it down
it literally curves the space around us.

And that allows
all sorts of interesting things to happen.

TAPPING:
So let's get this straight.

Einstein's theory says
that something really big...

...something with a lot of gravity,
like a star, or a giant planet...

...can literally bend space.

And if it's big enough,
it can really bend it a lot.

Now, take this pole here...

...and say this is your universe
and you're an ant living at this end...

...well,
it's a long way from here to there.

That is, unless the space
in which you live is curved.

Well, you might think
you're very close now.

You could just jump across,
but you can't...

...because there's no space there.

This is your space and you still
have to walk all the way around...

...unless you bring them closer together
and they actually touch.

That changes the topology of space.
That's your shortcut. That's a wormhole.

TAPPING:
So if we were smart...

...we could theoretically bend space
so much...

...it actually
comes right back on itself.

If you think that's crazy, watch this.

So here we are, Amanda, magically
transported to space all around us...

...with Stargate Command here,
and the moon way over there...

...250,000 miles away. Pretty far.

But if we curve space
around Stargate Command...

...and around the moon...

...and eventually
create a tunnel that touches...

...create a little hole,
then we have a tunnel. A wormhole.

And the distance between
Stargate Command and the moon...

...is very small through the tunnel. In fact,
if you look through the tunnel there...

...there's the moon. Just on
the other side. See it? Pretty sexy, eh?

Mathematically they exist, they're
consistent with the laws of physics...

...but you still
gotta make them happen.

We don't have very good technology
for dealing with wormholes.

Another problem with wormholes is
they tend to be unstable. They collapse.

If you just build them and
then leave them, they fall apart again.

KRAUSS: The gravitational fields would be
so strong at either end of the wormhole...

...that each end
will collapse into a black hole...

...out of which nothing could escape.

TAPPING: But even if scientists could
succeed in holding a black hole open...

...passing through it would
definitely not be for the squeamish.

STEWART: it could actually be
really stressful going through...

...because space and time
will be very, very heavily curved...

...enormous gravitational fields.

Unless you're careful
you could be shredded.

TAPPING: Scientists have imagined
that a wormhole...

...would probably look something
like a floating crystal ball.

If you could see into it at all...

...you might see an inkling
of what's on the other side.

And this is, roughly speaking,
what the producers of Stargate...

...have made their gate look like.

It'd be a bit like a mirror.

When you look in the mirror,
you see another world.

When you walk around the back,
the other world isn't there.

If you walk through the mirror, like Alice,
you're suddenly in the other world.

You can actually see the fluctuations
in the event horizon.

We have all sorts of reasons to believe
that making one would be very difficult...

...but their existence is consistent
with the known laws of physics.

TAPPING: The stargate has opened up
a whole new world...

...of save-the-universe-style adventures
for us at SG-1.

And I have to say, we've met
some terrifying and weird enemies.

This is my lab.

It's here that I first realized...

...that these small pieces
of alien technology...

...formed Earth's most serious threat.

Although humanity's fiercest
and most memorable adversary...

...are the parasitic Goa'uld...

...early on in SG-1's adventures we found
ourselves up against what seemed like...

...an unstoppable enemy.

We thought we beat them once,
but soon they were back.

Bigger, better,
and bent on universal domination.

They are the Replicators.

The Replicators
are virtually unstoppable.

They devour
anything they come across...

...and use that material
to replicate themselves...

...making themselves stronger
and more powerful as they go.

MAN:
Move!

They can also
assume different shapes...

...from spider-like creatures...

...right through to spaceships,
and even humans.

In series eight they even made
a Replicator version of me.

And terrifyingly, the Replicators
communicate with each other...

...through a common consciousness.

COOPER:
They have this greater capability...

...because they were all able
to communicate with each other.

And they looked cool,
and they were scary.

We could shoot them
and not feel guilty...

...because they were just machines.

It was born out of a desire to create
another villain other than the Goa'uld...

...but that were shark-like
in their killing potential.

They couldn't really be reasoned with
and so were deadly from that perspective.

[SCREAMING]

TAPPING:
Of course, here on Earth...

...scientists are also working
on our own Replicator-like robots.

These ones,
at the University of South Florida...

...can talk to each other
and think together.

Thankfully, they're designed to help us,
not kill us.

MAN:
Here we go.

TAPPING: In fact,
scientists have designed robots...

...that can help
in the dangerous business...

...of looking for survivors
in the aftermath of a disaster.

They are continuingly in use
by the emergency services...

...and even saw action following 9/11.

And a bit like the Replicators,
they are highly mobile...

...and have a sophisticated
communication network...

...perfect for search and rescue.

For search and rescue there are three
types of Robots that you would be using.

You've got ground robots, which can go
into the interior of the rubble.

Places that people
and dogs can't go.

You also have aerial vehicles,
which can be incredibly useful...

...particularly if you've got a hurricane,
or earthquake...

...where you've got a large
geographically-distributed disaster.

And then don't forget about water.

A lot of our cities
are based around water.

You wanna see
if there's any cracks...

...or if something's fixing to break
and can cause a collapse of a bridge.

A lot of times right now,
with the state of technology...

...the human is the smarter one,
but that's beginning to change.

Because robots working together
is something that's coming soon.

They're starting to give information
to you.

At the same time they're relaying
information to their other friends...

...their other peer robots, saying:

"Hey, when you see this, slow down...

...because this is where
we're seeing survivors."

WOMAN:
I see fire.

MURPHY:
In the meantime, this information...

...would be relayed to aerial vehicles.

Those may be smart enough to say:

"Oh, but so much is happening.
Let's call our other friend robot.

He's not doing much over there.

Come over here
and work in this area for us."

So imagine this whole web
where the right information...

...is getting to the right people,
or the right robot, at the right time.

TAPPING: Scientists at NASA
are pushing the idea...

...of groups of robots
working together even further.

They've developed a robot
called the 12-Tet.

On its own,
it can move across the ground...

...by sort of wiggling,
crawling and falling.

But what's really cool...

...is when they put a whole group
of them together.

They join up,
and can crawl over really rough terrain...

...cross wide gaps,
and even climb walls.

And they think as one.

Each robot is autonomous.

But their overall action
is that of a single organism.

Remind you of anyone?

Another of the Replicator's
most terrifying characteristics...

...is their unstoppable ability to learn.

Wherever they go...

...they become more intelligent
and even more powerful.

At Reading University...

...Professor Kevin Warwick
is revolutionizing robot technology...

...by studying
how they think and learn.

Warwick's team
have been experimenting...

...on what very basic robots do...

...when they react with each other,
and their environment.

WARWICK: Each of the robots has,
I guess, only about 50 to 100 brain cells.

So it's equivalent
to basic slugs and snails.

So relatively they're quite simple,
but we can still look at how they learn.

TAPPING:
These robots were not told what to do.

They had to learn for themselves.

WARWICK:
What they have is a goal.

And that is move forwards,
but don't bump into anything.

And hence, the robots come up
with different behaviors.

Different characteristics.

Do I move to the left,
do I move backwards, do I pirouette?

TAPPING:
And the robots ended up doing things...

...Warwick's team
had never dreamt of.

WARWICK: You get good robots,
you get bad robots.

It depends
on what their learning experience is like.

We have had, in one case,
a suicidal robot.

Everything it did was wrong.
In the end, it stopped doing anything.

Only one time we've ever achieved that.
But these extreme cases do happen.

Far from being things
that you can program...

...and they will always do
what you want them to do...

...learning robots almost surely
will do what they want to do.

TAPPING: For Kevin Warwick,
this means only one thing.

A robot which learns for itself
could end up having ideas of its own.

And they might not be that nice.

WARWICK: Machine intelligence
has different values...

...different ethics,
to human intelligence.

If it's learning
and deciding for itself...

...who are its friends,
who are its enemies...

...it's almost surely
gonna be very dangerous for humans.

And me standing there saying:

"You're not conscious like I am.
Therefore, you can't kill me."

Well, it would just blow my head off
and that's it.

TAPPING:
Sounds totally Stargate, doesn't it?

And he's taken the idea so seriously...

...that he's been thinking about
an even more sci-fi way to deal with it.

The only possibility I can see
is to upgrade what we are as humans.

To make us into cyborgs.
Essentially saying:

"Okay, if machines are going to be more
intelligent than humans, let's join them.

Let's become part machines ourselves."

TAPPING: And if that sounds
like total fantasy, then get this:

Professor Warwick had a microchip...

...surgically implanted
into the main nerve in his left wrist...

...as part of a cyborg experiment
in 2002.

His robots were then able to interact
directly with his nervous system.

He could control devices
like a robot hand...

...and a wheelchair by thought alone.

We'll do a nice left.

And right.

MAN: Enjoying that, Kevin?
- Oh, excellent, yeah.

TAPPING: And the chip allowed
information to flow the other way too.

From his equipment,
directly into his brain.

In one experiment,
he attached radar censors...

...to a baseball cap
that fed signals into his mind.

Then, blindfolded, he found
that he was able to see like a bat.

WARWICK: it was a new feeling.
It was a new sensation.

It wasn't as though
it felt like somebody was touching me.

It simply felt something is close
on the right or the left.

Listen to me talking to you.

Come over this way. Keep listening
to me. Let's go back the other way.

TAPPING: Warwick's
next sci-fi-like experiment...

...will be to implant a chip
right into the middle of his brain.

WARWICK:
This way. This way. Pay attention.

TAPPING: And where that takes him--
As part robot, part human cyborg.

--Is anybody's guess.

You recognize me?
I am your terminator.

I would love to have
some of the memory capabilities...

...some of the abilities
to communicate just by thought.

Even just having
some extra dimensions in my brain.

To think not in this limited human form
of three dimensions...

...but to think in five dimensions.

Wow, wouldn't that be fantastic?

The whole world
would seem as a different place to me.

I can't wait for it.

Stargate has been on the air
for over eight years.

And has become one of the most popular
science-fiction shows in the world.

With visual effects, exciting storylines--
And even if I do say it myself.

--Great characters,
it has galvanized audiences.

The series has made a point
of not just looking...

...at the science fiction
of battling aliens, though.

WOMAN: What?
CARTER: They're not multiplying.

They're replicating.

DANIEL:
What's the difference?

Living organisms multiply.
Machines replicate.

Machines inside the body.
How is that possible?

At the Pentagon...

...I worked for a year with a group
that studied nanotechnology.

We were looking at it for a lot of
different uses. One of them was medicine.

TAPPING:
Yes, you've guessed it.

At the University of Michigan,
Dr. James Baker and his team...

...have combined medicine,
engineering and computer technology...

...to make nanoparticles.

These tiny particles are so small...

...100,000 could fit
into the smallest cell in the human body.

And believe me...

...at that size they are capable
of the most incredible things.

BAKER: We're actually doing surgery
on a molecular level.

Altering single molecules...

...rather than going in
and grossly cutting things out.

So this is a whole new level
of human engineering that can occur.

TAPPING: His team can engineer
these particles so precisely...

...that when they get in the body,
they act like tiny robot doctors.

They can locate unhealthy cells...

...and act on them
with incredibly specific treatments.

His team
have had some spectacular results.

BAKER: For example, if you want
to deliver a drug to a cancer cell...

...the nanoparticle
first would find the cancer cells...

...it would identify them
with an imaging modality...

...so you can actually see the cancer.

It would then tell you...

...what the genetic abnormalities
are in the cancer.

And allow you to activate a drug...

...specific for the abnormality
for their cancer.

And that way,
you could get the cancer killed...

...without harming the individual.

So that's our real goal,
to change cancer to a treatable disease.

TAPPING: And there seems to be no limit
to what nanoparticles can do.

BAKER: We then could load things that
would fluoresce under certain conditions...

...into your bloodstream.

So, for example, if you had the flu, we'd
know that you had a viral infection...

...maybe before
you could even show the symptoms.

I think
what nanotechnology could do...

...is move us
from the point of treating disease...

...to truly the point
of preventing disease.

I think nanotechnology has the potential
to fundamentally alter medical care.

From the very beginning,
the producers of Stargate...

...have felt very strongly
about the design and feel of the series.

From the look of the military institution
that is the SGC here...

...right through
to the incredible detail...

...on the various aliens
that we've encountered.

From the warrior Jaffa,
the parasitical Goa'uld...

...the friendly Unas,
and the all-powerful Asgard...

...we've met
a bewildering variety of aliens.

MAN:
That's Thor.

COOPER: There are all kinds of
different ways to go with aliens.

And so we have
a very talented group of artists...

...and designers
who work on the show.

And we basically, you know,
go to them and say:

"Draw us some pictures. Come up
with something that looks cool."

And they'll-- And then it becomes
a question of balancing costs and design.

But if you want a character
that's going to be funny...

...and interact with your regular actors
on an ongoing basis...

...then it's always best
to have an actor there.

It's the best way to get a character
to come out of your alien.

MAN:
All right. Let's try again.

TAPPING: For some of the actors,
playing an alien was second nature.

I've always kind of been an oddball,
you know.

Kind of in every phase of my life.

So it just kind of fit me
that I was destined to play an alien.

I've found the thing
that worked for Teal'C...

...is just to have a very,
very rough idea...

...of what was gonna go on
during the episode.

I wasn't ever interested
in what they were talking about.

I would just have my own take
on everything that was going on.

And-- And to do that,
I really would not read scripts.

I would never read any lines,
including my own.

Which some directors
didn't really like...

...but I found
that my level of unpreparedness...

...served me well.

MAN:
Try it again.

TAPPING: On Stargate, we get inspiration
for our aliens from the natural world.

And from our worst nightmares.

But some, like the Asgard,
are really sweet and kind.

They save humanity all the time.

So just how far-fetched are they?

Asgards are too close to human
to be believable as aliens...

...who have simply come
from a distant planet...

...and have no connection with us.

If we actually found aliens like that...

...then the scientific view would be...

...maybe we shared
a common ancestor with them.

Say, two million years ago.
It would take about two million years...

...to evolve
to something that different from us.

TAPPING: Okay.
But what might real aliens look like?

Professor Ian Stewart
at the University of Warwick...

...was asked by the Science Museum
in London to answer just that.

STEWART: if you're gonna do this
scientifically, you can't just say:

"Let's have 17-foot creatures
with blue skins and big horns."

You have to start with the environment
in which they evolved.

TAPPING:
For example, here on Earth...

...we have quite powerful gravity
and very solid ground.

So many creatures have adapted...

...by having some sort of rigid skeleton
to keep their bodies upright.

But on another planet,
life might have a very different shape.

Take Jupiter, for instance,
which has much more gravity than us...

...and is a huge ball of gas
with no solid ground.

As there's nothing to stand on...

...creatures there
probably wouldn't have skeletons at all.

In fact,
they'd be more likely to fly or float.

And their whole shape and behavior
would follow from that.

STEWART: So we think you'd get
something more like a balloon creature...

...which floats in the atmosphere.

And we came up
with several types of balloon creature...

...and called them frisbees and flashes
and darts and dolphins.

The frisbees are herds...

...of enormous circular,
slowly-rotating creatures...

...like a giant pancake.

Probably the size of a football field.
Really big.

Because there's a lot of room
on a gas-giant planet.

And then we realized, on the frisbees,
you could get parasites.

So we came up
with little dog-like creatures...

...that have a blue light on top.

And they used the blue light
to signal...

...to the potential mates
when it's mating season.

And they leap from one frisbee
to another to secure mates.

The dolphins were a very interesting
creature that we came up with.

We realized that skeletons
would not really be made of bone...

...like they are here.

It'd be very surprising if, on a gas giant,
we got bone.

So we decided that what we might get
is a kind of series of hollow tubes.

Which are activated
by hydraulic pressure.

Like the brakes on your car.

And then
we were looking for fast predators.

And the darts live
in the lower atmosphere.

And they've got four fins at right angles,
like the tail end of a dart.

They have a very sharp front end.
And they hunt in packs.

They come up to the upper atmosphere,
and they hunt frisbees.

TAPPING: With trillions of
vastly different planets and worlds...

...out there in the universe...

...who knows what bizarre shapes
aliens may turn out to be.

Probably much weirder
than the Goa'uld or the Asgard.

However, for many scientists...

...what is not in doubt
is whether aliens actually exist.

The universe is big.
There are so many stars...

...and we now know
so many planets...

...that I would
be absolutely astonished...

...if there
are no intelligent aliens out there.

If we're the only one, it's crazy.

That life may exist on other planets at all
is fairly mind-boggling.

But that we might be able to hazard
a guess about its shape and behavior...

...pushes the boundaries
of what we assume is science.

But not as much as our last,
most controversial thought.

How far-fetched is it to think...

...that we could pass through time
as well as space?

Passing backwards and forwards
through time...

...is something we've dreamed about
for generations.

The chance to see our future
and revisit our past...

...has been one of
the most exciting ideas in all of fiction.

Guess what. It might be possible.

Thanks once again
to Einstein's theory of relativity.

You see, Einstein realized that time...

...doesn't tick along
at the same rate for everyone.

He worked out that the faster you move,
the more slowly time passes for you.

So imagine if I had an identical twin.

And I left her here on Earth
and got into a sports car.

And drove into space at, say,
99 percent of the speed of light.

As well as feeling slightly carsick...

...what Einstein said is that,
as I get faster, time moves slower.

At least for me,
compared to my sister.

So that when I returned from my journey
I would've aged normally.

But my twin would've aged a lot.

In effect,
I would've traveled into the future.

And amazingly,
this has actually been tested.

One of the first tests was done
when we developed atomic clocks...

...which were sensitive enough...

...to tell time differences
of a millionth of a second or so.

And in that case, two atomic clocks
were carefully synchronized.

One was put on a plane that basically
went around the world and came back.

And the two were compared...

...and indeed, they differed
by a border of a millionth of a second.

Exactly as Einstein's theory
had predicted.

TAPPING: But the real jewel
in the time-travel crown...

...would be to travel back in time.

KRAUSS: That's what fascinates people,
because we'd all like to go back in time...

...and correct the errors of our youth.

Or-- Or relive them,
depending upon our mood.

TAPPING:
And surprise, surprise.

The science of this turns out
not to be not too far-fetched.

Physicists have come up with quite a lot
of different potential time machines.

Which,
according to the laws of physics...

...would in some sense
let you travel back in time.

So, spinning the entire universe.

Blowing the universe up
into a cylinder.

There's a magnetic black hole
which makes a lovely time machine...

...which is like a sort of doughnut
that traps--

Black hole end to and fro
very, very fast--

Having a very large cylinder of matter,
which is spinning.

Spinning black hole.

There are quantum mechanical
time machines.

So there's an enormous number
of potential designs for a time machine.

Going back in time sounds great,
but it's actually fraught with problems.

Many of which
we've explored during Stargate.

What if I went back in time...

...and accidentally shot myself
with a zat gun?

If I'm dead,
who went back in time to shoot me?

A bewildering time paradox.

Contradictions like this...

...were the backbone
of the stories at the end of series eight.

CARTER:
We saw the tablet.

- What tablet?
- The one you haven't written yet.

And put where the Stargate
was supposed to be buried.

Supposed to be.

TAPPING:
Confused? So were we.

And these kinds of weird paradoxes...

...have turned most scientists
against the idea of backward time travel.

But a solution
to these contradictions...

...may lie in science's
most bizarre discipline.

Welcome to quantum mechanics.
The weird science of atomic particles.

And a very,
very strange answer to the time paradox.

Quantum mechanics
is more exotic and strange...

...than any other area of physics.

And, for example, at the atomic level,
things like electrons...

...are actually doing many things
at the same time.

When an electron goes from A to B,
unlike a baseball...

...when it travels from one place
to another...

...when an electron
goes from one place to another...

...it actually takes many paths
at the same time.

That sounds insane, but it's
actually true, and we can test that.

And one way of understanding it is
called the Many-Worlds Interpretation...

...which suggests that there are many
different realities...

...going on at the same time.

And each time you observe something,
you fix it to be in one version of reality.

One branch of the quantum mechanical
wave function.

And the suggestion is that,
when you go back in time...

...you jump to another branch.

It's okay if there's a different future.

It was going to have
a different future anyway.

Scientists have theorized that there
are an infinite number of dimensions...

...each containing
a different possible version of reality.

Well, it sounds like I theoretically,
possibly, actually found one.

We explored this idea
in several episodes of Stargate...

...with alternative Samantha Carters
and SG-1 members...

...being central characters in the plot.

Which certainly has made the series
unusual to act in.

And it seems to offer a solution
to the paradoxes of time travel.

So if I went back and shot myself...

...all that would've happened is that
the me that existed in one universe...

...is bounced into a universe
where I was shot.

No paradox.

Once again,
it seems that modern science...

...is at least as strange and unusual
as the wildest science fiction.

KRAUSS: Science and science fiction
are both about possibilities.

It's not surprising when you find out...

...that science fiction writers
and scientists...

...come up with the same answers
to those problems.

It happ--
They're just creative people working.

The difference is the
science-fiction writer can imagine it...

...but the scientist
actually has to build it.

COOPER: if it isn't happening now,
maybe 10 years from now...

...the possibility
is that we will see a wormhole...

...to travel to another planet.

Or creatures like the Replicators,
you know...

...coming out of labs, you know,
somewhere in Silicon Valley.

While it is still escapism
and using science to have fun...

...there is-- it appeals to
a segment of the audience...

...that would like to think
that we're sort of on the cutting edge...

...of what is possible.

TAPPING:
When it comes to science fiction...

...we love to be led into a world
of imagination and fantasy.

With Stargate, we travel to other worlds
and pass through time.

We meet creatures from other galaxies
and find out about gods and mortals.

We cover huge distances
in time and space...

...and find technologies
that seem beyond our wildest dreams.

What may be the biggest surprise
of all, though...

...is that everything we've seen
is actually possible.

Modern science may actually be...

...the most wild, fantastic voyage
of imagination that we're capable of.

And of course, in Stargate,
nothing is ever as it seems.

WRIGHT: In the actual
Cheyenne Mountain Complex...

...there is a door
that has multiple locks on either side...

...and blacked-out glass window.

And above it, it says,
"Stargate Command."

it's a broom closet.

[LAUGHING]

It really is a broom closet.

But-- Or maybe it isn't.
Maybe that is how you get there.