SAN FRANCISCO – Presented on November 5, the California Academy of Sciences’ newest, original, all-digital planetarium show, “Living Worlds,” takes viewers on an exploration of how life has transformed the surface and the earth’s atmosphere spanning billions of years and invites the public to travel the cosmos in search of life in our solar system and beyond.
Narrated by Daveed Diggs, “Living Worlds” is the eighth original in-house production of the Academy’s Visualization Studio. The breathtaking and stimulating show transports viewers across our globe and to the far reaches of space in a quest to understand life as an essential quality of our home planet.
Along the way, see how light and color can help planetologists spot a living world, even at great distances. From awe-inspiring expanses of space to the microscopic amoeba living in Chile’s Atacama Desert, to the ice-covered ocean of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, the 75-foot dome of the Morrison Planetarium will immerse viewers in cutting-edge visualizations and environments. hyper-realistic virtual reality.
“Living Worlds takes viewers on a journey to answer some of our biggest questions: How does understanding the influence of life on our planet inform our search for life elsewhere – and what it would mean to find evidence?” of extraterrestrial life? Said Ryan Wyatt, senior director of the Morrison Planetarium and Scientific Visualization. “We hope that viewers come away with a deeper understanding of our living world in a cosmic context and that they will be inspired to seek an active role in the regeneration of life on Earth.”
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On October 9, “Living Worlds was named the winner of the 2021 Dome Fest West #BestOfEarth Award for Science and Education at its festival premiere at four film festivals around the world October 8-10: Dome Fest West in Los Angeles; the FullDome Festival in Jena, Germany; Fulldome UK in Plymouth, United Kingdom; and the Dome Under Festival in Melbourne, Australia.
“Living Worlds” begins the quest for life in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, a place with environmental conditions so extreme that scientists are conducting experiments there to simulate journeys to Mars. Yet this region retains life-friendly “microclimates” that are home to a multitude of living creatures, such as the single-celled amoeba Cabrolae.
By zooming out to look at Earth from space, viewers are given a new lens through which they can see its pale deserts, blue oceans, and green forests: these colors indicate a planet that is home to life. Using spectral data directly from astrobiology researchers, we see what colors reflected from a planet can reveal about the chemistry of its atmosphere, and we learn how, by separating different wavelengths of light, we can discover the spectral footprint of a planet and detect signs of life. .
“Living Worlds” encourages viewers to consider how a deeper understanding of our own planet can aid the search for life across the cosmos. Viewers are taken back hundreds of millions, then billions of years, when microscopic life may have plunged our entire planet into deep frost, lands and oceans almost completely covered in ice and snow. This episode changed our planet forever, paving the way for other life forms and illustrating how Earth and the life it supports evolve in tandem.
As life took hold on Earth, Mars lost its ability to support abundant life. As they roam its arid, cratered surface, viewers see evidence of hydrothermal activity that could once have provided energy for life, walk through a submerged region of canyons known as Nili Fossae, and imagine what it might look like future missions to Mars. From there, the journey continues to Saturn’s moon Enceladus, sinking deep beneath its icy crust into a vast ocean covering the world.
Although Earth’s current spectral footprint is visible even many light years away, it shows a world out of balance, with signs of unnatural pollutants and escalating carbon dioxide threatening to dangerously heat our planet. When viewers are brought back to our planet, they glimpse a bright future: drylands turn green, biodiversity flourishes, and the planet vibrates with life. “Living Worlds” asks the public to imagine a future in which technology enriches our planet and to think about ways to partner with our living world to regenerate and strengthen life on Earth.
The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is home to an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative science research and environmental education programs. The museum’s opening hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibitions, programs and shows. For daily ticket prices, visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.
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