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Jonathan Trent, Astrobiologist, NASA Ames Research Center studies "thermophiles," heat-loving microbes inhabiting places once thought too hostile for life, but analogous to environments that might be found on other planets. He discovered that some of these microbes make a protein that appears to stabilize their cell membranes (and may have applications for nanotechnology). Julia Child and physicist Philip Morrison once cooked up (and sampled) "primordial soup," a mixture of ingredients said to be the materials from which life sprang on Earth. How accurate is this notion? David Deamer studies how some molecules self-assemble into order, and has developed new theories about how life evolved from components on Earth. We’ll talk with him, do hands-on experiments, and watch vintage footage of Julia Child tasting the soup. Guests: David Deamer, Director, UC Berkeley SETI Program, and Karen Kalumuk, Exploratorium staff scientist. Nathalie Cabrol, Planetary Scientist, Principal Investigator at NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute, looks for Mars analogs in extreme environments on Earth. She found one at the world’s highest lake at Chile’s Licancabur volcano, site of a unique analog to ancient Martian lakes. We chat with Dr. Cabrol as she investigates the life forms at Licancabur. How can a mathematical equation frame the question of life in the universe? We’ll talk with Frank Drake, one of the founders of the SETI Institute, about his famous equation and how it frames the search for signs of intelligent life in the universe. Watch as Exploratorium staff and local teachers compete for the title of Iron Science Teacher. Each contestant has 10 minutes to make a science lesson out of a secret ingredient. In this special Halloween edition, today's secret ingredient is: Plastic Bags! James Turrell studied optics and perceptual psychology in college, but gravitated towards art as his curiosity led him to investigate light itself. In this Webcast of a lecture, James Turrell discusses his experiences manipulating pure light and how it became his artistic medium. He reveals how this early work led him to discover Roden Crater in Arizona and to create his subsequent lifelong project of transforming the crater into an astronomical observatory. Join the Exploratorium's Dr. Paul Doherty as he visits a "sculpture to observe the stars" in northern New Mexico, where the Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet the eastern plains. There artist Charles Ross is creating an art installation that is also a star observatory. This major earthwork has two main elements: the Star Tunnel, which allows you to walk through the entire history of the earth's changing alignment to our North Star, Polaris; and the Solar Pyramid, where one can visually experience an hour of the earth's rotation. See an 8 minute video of the planet Mars from the James Lick Observatory telescope! In this archived program from 2003, join us for a conversation with Pulitzer-prize winning biologist E. O. Wilson, who introduced the term biodiversity to describe the interlocking dependence and diversity of organisms in sustaining life in biological communities. We stayed up with Exploratorium scientist Ron Hipschman at the Lick Observatory in San Jose, California, for the best view we've had of Mars in a long, long time. At midnight on August 27, Earth and Mars passed closer to one another than they have in 60,000 years. Astronomers were on hand to tell us all about our nearest neighbor—its geography, orbit, and why both NASA and the European Space Agency have chosen this time to launch robotic missions to Mars.