We're Not Alone - National Survey Reveals that Nearly Two Thirds of Canadians Believe Life Exists Somewhere Else in the Universe

    - Discovery Channel/CTV/Globe and Mail poll explores national
    attitudes towards a mission to Mars -

    TORONTO, Sept. 13 /CNW/ - Only weeks away from the 50th anniversary of
Sputnik, the satellite launch that heralded the dawn of the Space Age, what's
next? According to the results of a recent Discovery Channel/CTV/Globe and
Mail poll, most Canadians believe life exists elsewhere in the universe and
most support sending astronauts on a mission to explore other planets. At
56-million kilometres away, Mars is our nearest planetary neighbour - and the
next step in the human exploration of our solar system. Experts suggest we
could see a successful human voyage to Mars in our lifetime - but should we
go? And why?
    Conducted by The Strategic Council for Discovery Channel, CTV and the
Globe and Mail, the Attitudes Towards a Mission to Mars Survey was
commissioned to coincide with Discovery Channel's unprecedented and daring
multi-platform exploration of the Red Planet. The cornerstone of Discovery
Channel's fall season, this landmark television event - featuring the World
Premieres of "Race to Mars" (Sept. 23 premiere) and "Mars Rising" (Oct. 7
premiere) - explores the innovation, technology and passion that will bring a
future mission to Mars to fruition. More details below.

    Attitudes Towards a Mission to Mars Survey Results
    When asked if they believe if life exists somewhere else in the universe,
nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents said "yes," confirming that most
Canadians believe in extraterrestrial life. And it would seem that Canadians
are keen to learn more about our extraterrestrial neighbours. When asked if
they find the idea of sending astronauts to explore other planets exciting,
nearly seven in 10 respondents (67%) were excited by the prospect of a manned
mission to other planets.
    Do Canadians support sending astronauts on a mission to explore other
planets? The survey revealed that 63 per cent would support a human mission to
other planets, and the same percentage (63%) would support the funding of
human exploration of outer space through space agencies, such as the Canadian
Space Agency. But this monumental undertaking should not be shouldered by
Canada - or other individual countries - alone. When asked if nations should
cooperate or fund their own human mission to Mars, the results demonstrate
that there are no borders in space, with nearly six in 10 Canadians (58%)
stating they are in favour of international cooperation and collaboration on a
manned mission to Mars, with only 37 per cent of respondents believing
individual countries should fund their own space race. And half of Canadians
(52%) take a patriotic stand, supporting Canada's involvement in a human
mission to Mars.
    While Canadians believe in life on other planets, the poll seems to
indicate that the search for extraterrestrial life should not be the sole
purpose behind the exploration of other planets, including Mars. When asked if
they support a mission to find life on Mars, only four in ten (38%) said
"yes." With 60 per cent saying "no," these findings would suggest that any
future mission to Mars would need to serve a greater public purpose - such as
researching the possible origins of life on Earth, or exploring the
possibility of a future human settlement on Mars - in order to generate more
widespread support.

    About Discovery Channel's Mars Programming Event
    Born out of exhaustive scientific research and consultation, the
four-hour miniseries "Race to Mars" (premieres Sun., Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/9
p.m. PT) imagines and simulates the first human mission to Mars, capturing
every exhilarating moment - from leaving Earth's orbit to the return voyage
home. Set in the year 2030, award-winning actor Michael Riley leads the "Race
to Mars" mission as Commander Rick Erwin. A six-part companion documentary
series, "Mars Rising," (premieres Sun., Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT)
explores the science and technology being developed and tested today that will
make a future mission to Mars a reality, each episode exploring a critical
issue key to the success of the future voyage.
    Plans for a manned mission to Mars are put under the microscope with the
ultimate litmus test during "Earth to Mars: The Great Space Debate." Moderated
by Daily Planet's Jay Ingram, an esteemed panel of scientists and space
experts dissect the risks, challenges and dangers of a mission that could last
as long as three years. To be filmed before a live audience of hundreds of
space enthusiasts in Toronto on Sat., Sept. 15 (and streamed LIVE at 7:30 p.m.
ET on Discovery Broadband at DiscoveryChannel.ca), this one-hour special wraps
up Discovery's Mars mission when it premieres Sun., Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/8
p.m. PT.

    Survey Methodology:
    The Attitudes Towards a Mission to Mars survey was conducted over the
phone by The Strategic Council among a proportionally representative random
sample of Canadian adults aged 18 or older between June 8-11 and Aug.
9-12, 2007. The results from this sample can be considered accurate +/- 3.1
per cent.

    Discovery Channel
    Bold and leading edge, while informing and entertaining, Discovery
Channel is Canada's leading source for factual programming, as it puts a new
spin on exploring adventure, science and technology. This award-winning
channel covers the scientific beat, from animals to the animalistic side of
humanity, from the sea to space, and the latest in innovation. TV Trends and
Quality (TVQ) Survey consistently ranks Discovery Channel Canada first among
all English-language Canadian specialty networks for overall quality of
programming. Discovery Channel is one of the first Canadian specialty channels
to offer programs in HDTV and its production house, Exploration Production
Inc. (EPI), continues to be internationally recognized as a producer of
cutting-edge programming. The channel's Web site may be found at

For further information:

For further information: Jodi Cook, Discovery Channel, (416) 332-4426,
or jcook@discovery.ca

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