Astrobiology (general)

Astrobiology Video Narrated by Jodie Foster: Life: A Cosmic Story

By Keith Cowing
December 2, 2010

A new show from the California Academy of Sciences, Life: A Cosmic Story opens on November 6th and will play through late 2011 in the Morrison Planetarium, the largest all-digital planetarium in the world. With input from NAI and SETI Institute scientists, Life uses the latest scientific knowledge to examine an age-old question: how did life on Earth begin? Starting with the first stars and ending with the tremendous biological diversity on Earth today, Life will show you that the human pedigree is actually 13.7 billion years in the making. Watch the trailer here:

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. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻