Flying whales, giant tree-like animals and "gulphogs" are just a few of the creatures dreamt up by a team of scientists whose mission was to imagine realistic forms that life on other planets might take.
The product of the group’s work–a TV special called "Extraterrestrial"–airs for the first time Monday night on the National Geographic channel. The show details a supposed planet called Aurelia, its habitable moon and their residents.
"Every detail of these aliens has been worked out," says the narrator in a preview of the show. "Height, weight, shape and interactions were all designed in minute detail."
So what is Aurelia like? Well, it orbits a red star, with one side always facing that star, and the other side bathed in darkness. The world’s dominant life forms are tree-like animals called "stinger fans" that, like plants, harvest energy from sunlight, but like animals, can move around and are often "shoving others for a prime position in the sun."
The stinger fans’ neighbors include the gulphogs–predators tall as giraffes. The "skywhales," on the other hand, are native to Aurelia’s moon. Its low gravity and dense atmosphere make it the perfect spot for their kind: bulky beasts with a wingspan of 33 feet.
Take a look at Missing Links for the links to the preview for the show as well as a gallery of images from the show.