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Fragile Planet combines scientific visualization with movie-making magic, highlighting Earth's special place in the universe as the only known haven for life.
Develop a renewed appreciation for our fragile planet through the lens of astronomy, as Sigourney Weaver guides audiences on an immersive excursion that explores a universe filled with the possibility of life.
Fragile Planet starts with an astronaut's view highlighting Earth's unique regions. The journey then continues to the Moon, Mars, and beyond the Milky Way to search for habitats that might host extraterrestrial life. The show's theme — that Earth is the only known haven for life, and thus is important to protect — echoes the themes of biodiversity and sustainability.
The foundation of the show lies in scientific visualization, utilizing observed data as the starting point for the imagery. More than three dozen researchers and institutions provided data in support of Fragile Planet; their contributions range from high-resolution satellite imagery of Earth to the positions of galaxies more than 50 million light years away.
From the three-dimensional terrain of Valles Marineris on Mars to the locations of extrasolar planetary systems in interstellar space, everything audiences see in Fragile Planet is based on astronomers' best understanding of the universe. Scenes requiring extrapolation from known observations were developed with the assistance of researchers with expertise in the relevant topics.
Fragile Planet was written and produced by the visualization studio of the California Academy of Sciences. For two sequences in the show, they collaborated with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The spectacular visuals are augmented by an evocative, multi-dimensional sound environment by renowned giant-screen composer Michael Stearns.