PLANETARIUM SHOW, "COSMIC CSI," SEARCHES UNIVERSE FOR LIFE
26 March 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Sue Stevens, (817) 272-3317
ARLINGTON—“Cosmic CSI: Looking for Life in the Universe,” an
original new show developed with a grant from NASA, is opening this week
at The Planetarium at UT Arlington.
The production takes its cue from “CSI,” its spin-off series, “CSI:
Miami” and “CSI: NY” and numerous other television shows featuring
sharp-minded investigators armed with high-powered forensic gadgetry that
have burst into popular culture in the last few years. The new planetarium
show takes the investigation out of our solar system, using tools that
were non-existent just a few years ago, to search for life in the
universe. It investigates planets around nearby stars, extreme life forms
on planet Earth and future missions to answer that great galactic
question. . .got life?
The search has a dual focus, said Dr. Manfred Cuntz, associate
professor of physics at the University.
“Scientists are making progress in finding life in the universe by
using new search methods to identify planets in habitable zones around
many different types of stars,” Cuntz said. “At the same time, scientists
are finding that life, in very simple forms, can survive and even thrive
in conditions never thought possible, like organisms that live at
temperature of 210 degrees Fahrenheit or more in hot vents or at
temperature of less than 10 degrees in Antarctica.”
Planetarium Director Bob Bonadurer said the show was developed with the
help of an Education Public Outreach supplemental grant connected to an
earlier research grant awarded to Cuntz to work with FUSE, a
NASA-supported astrophysics mission launched in June 1999 to explore the
universe using the technique of high-resolution spectroscopy in the
far-ultraviolet spectral region.
Cuntz said he did not originally anticipate that his and his fellow
scientists’ findings would form the basis for an entertaining and
educational planetarium show. But when the new, technologically superior
planetarium opened on campus last March, the potential became obvious. The
show was created by planetarium staff in collaboration with Cuntz, and is
narrated by Glenn Morshower, an actor and a native Texan, who
has played parts in shows like “24,” “CSI” and “Star Trek.”
Cosmic CSI is showing at 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in the planetarium, 700 Planetarium Place. For more information, call (817) 272-0123.
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