Skip to content.
Future Earth

About the Exhibition

Energy PinballOur global population of seven billion now surpasses natural processes in creating global change. As that population continues to grow and demand more from our planet, how will we adapt and thrive with our existing resources? Find out from individuals and teams from Minnesota and around the world who are addressing the challenge with smart solutions.

In Future Earth, you'll use hands-on activities and multimedia components to see the ways humans have been changing our planet. We're a human dominated planet, but we're also healthy, wealthy, smart and connected. We're well-equipped to face our challenges head-on. Join us in finding out how!

Highlights of Future Earth include:

Future Earth Theater
This portion of Future Earth features Science on a Sphere, a giant animated globe that displays planetary data through computers with video projectors. It's an unforgettable platform to learn about geological eras and changes to our planet over time. Through Science on a Sphere's colorful visualizations, visitors will discover that, while our planet has continually changed, the rate at which humans are altering it is unprecedented.

Planet Earth Decision Show
This interactive live presentation takes place daily in the Future Earth Theater, inviting you to vote on issues that impact Earth's future health.

Change the Ocean
Explore what happens when carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere by human activities dissolves into the ocean. Experiment by mixing carbon dioxide into sea water and watching the water's acidity rise.

Can You Keep the Lights On?
Learn about fracture critical human systems, in which catastrophic failure can occur when just one element fails. Can you build a resilient power grid that can survive a lightning strike?

Why Do We Need an Atmosphere?
Experience the importance of our atmosphere in a hands-on way, literally! Feel and measure the difference in temperature between a closed environment with an atmosphere and one without, then use a flip chart to follow the path a sunbeam takes from its starting point to Earth.

Scoring Big with Energy Pinball
A traditional favorite game reveals the tremendous potential to reduce energy consumption by using the waste heat expelled by buildings and factories to do work that is typically performed using electricity and natural gas. Send a pinball rolling through two different systems and compare and contrast how creative re-use of energy could dramatically reduce our total energy consumption.

Future Earth Quiz Show
Test your knowledge on key environmental issues, compete against other visitors, and learn a ton about the impact of agriculture, industry and engineering on our planet.

NSFFuture Earth is funded by the National Science Foundation, with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Minnesota's National Center for Earth‐surface Dynamics.