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Exo: Our Search for Life in the Universe

English
Visitors to the permanent exhibition at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium
Photo: Espace pour la vie (Daniel Choinière)

How did life appear on Earth? Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? Our insatiable curiosity about life in all its forms and all its states is the starting point for the wide-ranging exploration of the interactive digital exhibition Exo: Our Search for Life in the Universe. Explore this fragmented space on a captivating quest through spectacular images and animation, projections and multimedia games!

Astrobiology: A science with a thousand faces

Studying life in the universe is at the heart of astrobiology, today a burgeoning multidisciplinary science. Bringing together an impressive range of fields – from chemistry to geology, biology, astrophysics and beyond! – astrobiology examines the characteristics that have allowed life to emerge and evolve on Earth. It uses these markers to search for signs of life elsewhere in our solar system and the universe. Linked to the conquest of space and planetary exploration, this discipline unites the world’s scientists in the advancement of research.

A miracle at the heart of the cosmos

It all began some 13.7 billion years ago – the great explosion of energy sparked by the Big Bang. Our primitive Earth was formed another few billion years after that. And the miracle of life took place here about 4 billion years ago! This exhibition is a journey through time and space on the trail of the fantastic history of our universe. For example, did you know that a significant portion of the earth’s water was brought here by asteroids and comets? Throughout this quest, you will be invited to define what life is and to observe some of the extraordinary life forms found on Earth, such as extremophile organisms. Even the imaginings of science fiction may offer some clues. Will we be the first generation of humans to discover signs of life out there in the universe?

A constantly evolving exhibition

Just like the life it studies, Exo doesn’t stay the same for long! The setting for this 100% electronic and multimedia exhibition is nothing short of spectacular. It includes large touch screens to transport you to the heart of the mysteries of life and the universe. Multimedia game tables offer astonishing experiences, such as the chance to try your hand at creating the earth or terraforming Mars. In other areas, you may travel through the solar system, operate a robot on the surface of Mars or even transform into an extraterrestrial yourself!

The largest collection of meteorites in Québec

One section of the exhibition holds a real geology laboratory and a rich collection of meteorites – the largest public collection in Québec. The collection contains over 300 pieces, including two world exclusives: Penouille and Chibougamau, both found in Québec! Some specimens come from the moon or Mars, and others have marked the history of meteor science. The oldest pieces of the solar system are here to see!

Before the construction of the meteorite lab, nowhere in Québec was really equipped to collect, conserve and analyze fragments of a meteor shower. The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium laboratory opens up a new universe of possibilities.

Ages 7 and up – Self-guided visit – 30 to 60 minutes

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