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Narrated by George Takei

Asteroids, Comets, and the Hard-Hitting Stories of Our Cosmic Origins

Asteroids and comets have collided with our planet throughout its history, changing the course of life on Earth and shaping the world we know today.

Incoming!, the 2016 original planetarium show from the California Academy of Sciences, explores the past, present, and future of our Solar System and the landmark discoveries scientists have made sending spacecraft to visit tiny worlds. Cutting-edge visualizations bring real-time data from current NASA missions to life while taking audiences on a ride through the dynamic story of our cosmic origins. Along the way, audiences discover what these impacts from above can teach us — and how scientific advances may allow us to find and track cosmic threats before they reach planet Earth.

movie frameThe show opens with a lizard's-eye view of the Arizona desert and the Barringer Meteor Crater. This scar on Earth's surface formed almost 50,000 years ago when an asteroid smashed into the landscape and vaporized on impact. Barringer is one of about 200 impact sites, including the one that gives clues about the demise of the dinosaurs — and how a far-traveling visitor from space transformed life on Earth.

movie framePlanet-altering impacts began billions of years ago and small objects from space continue to enter our atmosphere. Highlighting the recent Chelyabinsk fireball, Incoming! uses observed data to recreate the precise path of the meteor's atmospheric entry, allowing audiences to ride along with the planet-sized asteroid.

movie frameThroughout the show, viewers tag along with robot explorers, zooming by rocky asteroids, icy comets — and even the dwarf planet Pluto. While astronauts have only traveled as far as our nearest neighbor in space, the Moon, spacecraft continue to venture to mysterious worlds beyond, to make landmark observations and collect valuable data about this final frontier.

Incoming! also gives audiences a closer look at the scientific advances that may allow us to find and track cosmic threats before they reach Earth. The show concludes with glowing nighttime views of Chile's Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which, once completed, will survey the entire sky every few days, observing and detecting faint moving objects, including asteroids and other Near-Earth Objects.

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