NOVA | Life's Rocky Start
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Watch Wednesday, January 13 at 9pm & Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 11am on WMHT TV

Four and a half billion years ago, the young Earth was a hellish place—a seething chaos of meteorite impacts, volcanoes belching noxious gases, and lightning flashing through a thin, torrid atmosphere. Then, in a process that has puzzled scientists for decades, life emerged. How did it happen?

NOVA joins mineralogist Robert Hazen on the rocky trail to resolve this enduring mystery. As Hazen journeys around the globe—from an ancient Moroccan market to the Australian Outback—he advances a startling and counterintuitive idea—that the rocks beneath our feet were not only essential to jump-starting life, but then, as microbes flourished and took over the biosphere, life helped give birth to hundreds of minerals we know and depend on today.

This intriguing perspective of the co-evolution of Earth and life is reshaping the grand-narrative of our planet’s story. In this stunning adventure through billions of years of history, the story of life on Earth is revealed as fundamentally interwoven with the epic, unfolding story of Earth itself.