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Life on the Edge


Life On The Edge



August 15, 2022 – January 8, 2023 | Freeman Gallery, Level 1

Life on the Edge is Arizona Science Center’s new exhibition exploring extreme environments on Earth and expanding awareness of the possibilities for life in our Solar System and beyond. In Life on the Edge, visitors will discover that life is hidden in plain sight by exploring a colorful microbial colony, learning about the importance of our missions to Mars, investigating rover tests in the Atacama Desert and using spectroscopy to detect what light reveals in faraway places. 

Exhibition highlights include:

  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Understand how microbes contribute to nutrient cycling by using a movable video microscope to investigate a bacterial colony in a Winogradsky column and discover that the world is teeming with life that is often hidden in plain sight.
  • Discovering Biosignatures: Code a rover and experience what it is like to plan a route for a rover across the Atacama Desert and scan the environment for signs of life like scientists did in preparation for the Perseverance mission.
  • Light Reveals: Understand how scientists use the transit method to learn about exoplanets by setting a kinetic model of a solar system into motion and watching while a digital display shows dips of light as exoplanets pass in front of the light source.
  • Adapted For Extremes: Explore realistic models of hydrothermal vent communities that include detailed replicas of black and white smoker vents, and discover the diversity of creatures living in the deep sea and how they survive. 

Life on the Edge was produced by Sciencenter in partnership with SPIF, and made possible by the generous support of NASA. The exhibition was toured by Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY.

Life on the Edge was generously supported by Richard F. Caris Charitable Trust.

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