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Explore XTREME LIFE at Academy of Sciences
Small new exhibit now open at 875 Howard Street
SAN FRANCISCO (April 12, 2006) – Think the contestants on the CBS reality television show are the toughest survivors on Earth? Think again. The real survivors are the members of the microbe hall of fame, which can withstand temperatures of over 235°F, subsist without sunlight, and feed on delicacies such as rocks and gases. Learn about these extreme survivors—and discover why scientists are looking for similar life forms on other planets—in the Academy’s new exhibit, Xtreme life: On Earth and Beyond?. Located on the second floor of the Academy’s temporary museum at 875 Howard Street, this small new exhibit explores life in some of Earth’s harshest environments, including hot springs, deep sea vents, and polar ice. It also leads visitors through some of likeliest habitats for life in space, including Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
Highlights of the exhibit include an interactive projection of the surface of Mars that visitors can navigate using a track-ball device; a touchable meteorite that may have brought some of the building blocks of life to Earth; and a “Microbe Hall of Fame,” where visitors can find the single-celled organisms that endure the hottest, coldest, saltiest, most acidic, most basic, and most radioactive environments on the planet. Additionally, visitors can watch underwater video footage of animals that tolerate total darkness, toxic gases, scalding temperatures, and tremendous pressure in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Like geysers on the ocean floor, these vents spew super-heated water full of dissolved minerals into the deep ocean community, providing chemical energy for a wide variety of microbes. Many other animals, including specialized crabs, clams, shrimp, and fish, feed on these microbes. Similar vents may exist on Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
The Xtreme life exhibit will be on display at the Academy through Spring 2007.
Another Extreme Life Form Coming Soon…