How did life on Earth begin? This tantalizing question forms the basis of Morrison Planetarium’s upcoming show, Life: A Cosmic Story, which will premiere on November 6, 2010. Located inside the California Academy of Sciences, the Morrison has transported audiences to the far reaches of the Universe and back since its opening in 2008. Like the inaugural show Fragile Planet, Life takes audiences on an immersive, all-digital journey, featuring visualizations based on the latest scientific data.
“The show’s core concept is that all life on Earth is related, having evolved from a common ancestor,” says Ryan Wyatt, Director of Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization. “Taking an even longer view, we see that life’s origins begin with dark matter and the first stars—our pedigree is actually 13.7 billion years in the making.”
Narrated by two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster, Life begins in a grove of towering redwoods, majestic emblems of Northern California. From there, the audience “shrinks” dramatically as it enters a single redwood leaf and then a redwood cell, learning that despite their unique appearance, redwoods are composed of the same basic molecules as all other organisms on Earth.
After this opening statement of shared ancestry, the audience launches on a journey through time, witnessing key events since the Big Bang that set the stage for life. The first stars ignite, galaxies coalesce, and entire worlds take shape.
On the early Earth, two scenarios for the dawn of life are presented—one near a turbulent, deep-sea hydrothermal vent, and the other in a primordial “hot puddle” on a volcanic island. From these microscopic beginnings, life transformed the entire Earth as it evolved and diversified: filling the atmosphere with oxygen, turning the continents green, and altering global climate patterns.
The 25-minute show ends with a review of geological evidence and the connectedness of all living things on Earth.
Middle and High School Teachers!
Because of the focus of this show, it is appropriate for both a middle school and high school audience. For this reason, we are pleased to announce that we will be making the 11:30 Planetarium Show available to both middle and high school students on Mondays through Thursdays. This 11:30 showing is for the General Public as well, so seating is limited and reservations are required in advance of your trip.
Please call our folks at the Contact Center at 1-800-794-7576 in order to check availability and make your reservation.