Documentary featured

SXSW Review: ‘The Hunt for Planet B’

March 21, 2021Ben MK

The question of whether we're alone in the universe is one that has intrigued humanity for centuries. From scientists to filmmakers, authors to songwriters, it's as if the quest to solve this potentially life-changing mystery is engrained in our species' very DNA. And with today's technological advances, it would seem that we're closer than ever to discovering the answer.

In The Hunt for Planet B, director Nathaniel Kahn gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at NASA's 5-year mission to launch the James Webb Space Telescope, a $10 billion project that could be the key to unlocking the existence of planets beyond our solar system once and for all. Named after the man who led NASA for most of the 1960s and 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb is poised to shed light on these exoplanets like never before. However, as this documentary makes clear, none of it would be possible without the contributions of the diverse group of scientists and engineers working in the field today — many of them women like astrophysicist Sara Seager, system engineer Amy Lo and astronomer Maggie Turnbull.

Whether you consider yourself an amateur astronomer or are just mildly curious, the result is a fascinating look at how far science and human ingenuity have come since Galileo's first groundbreaking astronomical discovery in 1610. After all, exploration is in our nature — and with space, there's still so much yet to be explored.

The Hunt for Planet B screens under the Documentary Spotlight section at the 2021 South by Southwest Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 33 min.

You May Also Like