Theater 360, a 360-degree Movie Theater in the Round
Theater 360 opened to the general public on Thursday, December 21, 2006.
Theater 360 is a movie theater in spherical 3D, a movie experience in which the viewer is surrounded on all sides by a seamless sphere of video and sound. Theater 360 was born at Japan Pavilion Nagakute, at Expo 2005 Aichi, Japan, as the "Earth Room." The feature was subsequently transferred to the National Museum of Nature and Science, where it acquired its present name. With a dome measuring 12.8m in diameter (chosen symbolically as approximately one millionth of the diameter of the Earth), the interior of Theater 360 consists of a seamless sphere of movie screens, on all sides in three dimensions. Visitors stand on a bridge in the center of the attraction to view movies. With the movie visible in all directions 360 degrees around, the theater creates an unforgettable three-dimensional realism that is truly the first of its kind in the world.
The Museum has created two original films specially for Theater 360, which run in combination with the films from Expo 2005.
The thrill of being surrounded in sound and video has to be experienced to be believed.
About Theater 360
The video Each movie lasts approximately 10 minutes.
One original film produced by the Museum and one from Expo 2005 are shown.
Please refer to the schedule below.
Movie times 9:30 AM (first screening) to 4:30 PM (final screening)
Fridays and Saturdays: 9:30 AM (first screening) to 7:30 PM (final screening)
Admission procedure Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Location Japan Gallery (Main Building), B1F
Admission price Included in Permanent Exhibits Admission
Adults and university students: \ ¥620 (individual)
Children and youth in grades 1-12: Free
Caution The unique format of Theater 360 creates sensations of floating and speed. Some viewers may experience disorientation and discomfort. Particular caution is advised for small children, persons susceptible to nausea, expectant mothers, the elderly and those with heart conditions. Persons intoxicated with alcohol, unattended preschool children, and groups of preschool children are not admitted
Prohibited actions Eating, drinking, photography, use of mobile telephones and lighting of fires is not permitted in the theater. Please comply with the instructions of the staff on duty.
Schedule
January “Mantle Dynamics and Evolution of the Earth – The Earth’s Amazing Interior–” &
“The Journey of Humans: the Worldwide Dispersal and the Creativity of Homo sapiens
February “Mantle Dynamics and Evolution of the Earth – The Earth’s Amazing Interior–” &
”The Ocean Food Chain – this Flow of Energy from the Sun to the Bluefin Tuna –”
March “The Last Dinosaurs – Tale of the Fossils –” &
“The Universe: A Journey of 13.8 Billion Years – Everything Comes from the Stars –”
April “The Universe: A Journey of 13.8 Billion Years – Everything Comes from the Stars –” &
”The Journey of Humans: the Worldwide Dispersal and the Creativity of Homo sapiens–”
May “The Last Dinosaurs – Tale of the Fossils –” &
“The Ocean Food Chain – this Flow of Energy from the Sun to the Bluefin Tuna –”
June “Mantle Dynamics and Evolution of the Earth – The Earth’s Amazing Interior–” &
”The Ocean Food Chain – this Flow of Energy from the Sun to the Bluefin Tuna –”
July “The Last Dinosaurs – Tale of the Fossils –” &
“ The Journey of Humans: the Worldwide Dispersal and the Creativity of Homo sapiens
August “The Universe: A Journey of 13.8 Billion Years – Everything Comes from the Stars –” &
”The Ocean Food Chain – this Flow of Energy from the Sun to the Bluefin Tuna –”
September “The Last Dinosaurs – Tale of the Fossils –” &
“ The Journey of Humans: the Worldwide Dispersal and the Creativity of Homo sapiens
October “Mantle Dynamics and Evolution of the Earth – The Earth’s Amazing Interior–” &
”The Ocean Food Chain – this Flow of Energy from the Sun to the Bluefin Tuna –”
November “The Universe: A Journey of 13.8 Billion Years – Everything Comes from the Stars –” &
“The Journey of Humans: the Worldwide Dispersal and the Creativity of Homo sapiens
December “The Last Dinosaurs – Tale of the Fossils –” &
“The Universe: A Journey of 13.8 Billion Years – Everything Comes from the Stars –”
Movies from Expo 2005 Aichi, Japan
“Blue Brilliance”  “Green Murmur”  “Luster of Life”
A set of these three movies is shown only once around 7pm at every Friday.
Original movies produced by the Museum:

The Journey of Humans: the Worldwide Dispersal and the Creativity of Homo sapiens  

The evolutionary history of humankind is marked by the emergence of ape men in Africa, followed by various forms of our genus, from early and late archaic Homo to Homo sapiens. In this movie, we trace the path of human evolution, our understanding of which has recently increased sharply as a result of new studies on fossils and DNA. Its crowning climax is the great worldwide dispersal of Homo sapiens, which was made possible by the successive generation of new culture and technology.

Scene 1
The dawn of humankind

The earliest examples of “ape men” from Africa lived a dual form of existence, in the branches of the trees and on the ground beneath. Here, we have reconstructed one of them, Australopithecus ramidus, on the basis of fossil evidence. The appearance of these creatures, which were neither apes nor human beings, makes compelling viewing.

Scene 2
Evolution and diversification of humankind

A commentary on the major current of human evolution, from ape men through the different species of Homo, accompanies a series of distribution maps showing the expansion of their distribution. In the final scene, you are encircled by ape men and various forms of archaic Homo brought to life by the use of computer graphics.

Scene 3
The emergence and worldwide dispersal of Homo sapiens

We of the species Homo sapiens have overcome natural barriers that proved insurmountable for previous species of humankind, and have achieved massive worldwide dispersal. Here we reconstruct some scenes in this stupendous passage of time, including cave paintings and musical instruments, dwellings made from the bones of mammoths, constituting a key to moving into extremely cold environments, and ancient canoes that enabled access to the islands in the oceans of the world.

The Universe: A Journey of 13.8 billion years – Everything Comes from the Stars

The universe began with the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Immediately after its birth, the universe was unimaginably hot and dense. From this point on, it continued to expand, and the first star was born from a cloud of hydrogen gas. And within the framework of a large-scale structure formed in the shape of a net, innumerable stars and galaxies were born. One of these was the galaxy called the Milky Way. It was within the Milky Way that our Sun was created, and planet Earth was formed. The matter that makes up human bodies was also originally part of the stars.

Scene 1 The Big Bang

The Big Bang is the beginning of all the matter currently contained in the universe. Time and space also begin from this point. In the first 3 minutes after the Big Bang, all the elementary particles that form the basis of matter came into existence, and hydrogen, helium and other atomic nuclei were formed from protons and neutrons. 380,000 years later, the free electrons were captured by atomic nuclei to form atoms. At that instant, the universe became transparent. That’s recombination.

Scene 2 Supernovae

The first stars were hundreds of times more massive than the Sun. Within the cores of such massive stars, hydrogen is converted into helium via nuclear fusion, helium into heavier elements such as carbon and oxygen, and these into even heavier elements such as iron. When a star's core becomes too iron-rich, it can no longer sustain nuclear fusion, and an enormous explosion known as a supernova occurs. The star is blown apart, but in the process even heavier elements such as gold and silver are formed. The elements forged this way are scattered throughout the universe and become the raw material for the next generation of stars.

Scene 3 The Birth of the Sun

Within the molecular cloud, formed by an accumulation of gas and dust, over a period of around a million years, clusters of hydrogen gas formed the “germ of the sun”. This “germ of the sun” attracted more gas and dust, and became a sphere; at its core, a “baby sun”, termed a primeval star, was born. With this “baby sun” at its core, the solar system of planets was formed, and our Earth was born.

The Ocean Food Chain - this Flow of Energy from the Sun to the Bluefin tuna fish-  

The beginning of life on the Earth happened about 4 billion years ago. Today, more than 1.75 million different species of organisms exist on the Earth. The majority of these species live within the framework of “food chain” network, converting light energy from the Sun into food as the source of life; this life is energy from the Sun into food as the source of life; this life is then passed on to the next organism in the chain through the repeated process of eating. In this presentation, we will look at how, in the oceans, which cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, light energy is turned into food in the course of this process.

Scene 1 The Sun and phytoplankton

In the shallow coastal waters of the world’s oceans, many different kinds of algae receive energy from the Sun and carry out a process of photosynthesis, growing by means of forming organic matter. On the other hand, even in the open sea, where it seems as if no life exists, a wide variety of microscopic phytoplankton, measuring from several µm to 1mm in size and assuming strange shapes, drifts through the ocean and proliferates by means of separation in the course of photosynthesis that draws on the light energy of the Sun.

Scene 2
Copepoda and the mouth and gill rakers of pilchards

These microscopic phytoplankton will be collected and eaten by the larger zooplankton such as Copepoda and krill. Thus, the amount of solar energy stored in zooplankton is a size larger than that in the phytoplankton. And the zooplankton in turn are ingested with every gulp of sea water by a sardine or a saury, pass through a fine branchial sieve located at the base of the gills, and are thus eaten.

Scene 3
The Japanese common squid and the Bluefin tuna

The Japanese common squid is very fond of sardines and the Pacific saury. It can move as it pleases, and with its 2 tentacles and 8 arms capture and hold sardines and saury, and bite and tear their flesh to pieces with its hard beak so as to eat them. But now the king of fish, Bluefin tuna, is approaching, and has its eye on the squid. The squid squirts out ink and tries to flee, but it is caught by the tuna, which disposes of it with one swallow.

The Last Dinosaurs - Tale of the Fossils –

Dinosaur fossils consist almost exclusively of bones and teeth. It is impossible to reproduce the world of living dinosaurs, as in the movies, with scientific accuracy. Nonetheless, we can imagine how the dinosaurs may have moved and lived from the shape of their bones, teeth and joints. Let's try to imagine the world of the Triceratops, featured in the Museum's dinosaur exhibit room, which thrived in North America during the Cretaceous era.

Scene 1 Present

The Triceratops skeleton on exhibit at the National Museum of Nature and Science is regarded as the most complete specimen of Triceratops in the world. It is exhibited same position as if it were still lying in a geological stratum. Through the studies of this specimen reveal the shape of the forefeet of the Triceratops and how it moved its forefeet. Let's visit the US state of North Dakota, where this specimen was found, as it was 66 million years ago: Today the region is a dusty prairie, but in the late Cretaceous it was a lush, forested plain.

Scene 2 66.5 million years BC

It is sometimes said that Tyrannosaurus was capable only of scavenging dead prey, but recently revealed evidence indicates that Tyrannosaurus attacks on Triceratops. Although they became extinct, some dinosaurs evolved into birds and this evolution is continuing today. Aside from birds, some 1,000 species of dinosaur have been accorded scientific names, but these represent a fraction of the true diversity of the dinosaurs.
The great majority of dinosaur fossils remain buried in the earth, waiting for us to find them.

Mantle Dynamics and Evolution of the Earth: Earth's Amazing Interior

The continents move around, break up and merge with the movement of tectonic plates, as the sea floor is generated at mid-ocean ridges and sinks into the Earth at ocean trenches. These currents generate earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and sometimes form tall mountain ranges. The key to understanding these changes is the circulation of the Earth's mantle over hundreds of millions of years. This motion, unseen deep inside the Earth, is a convection process in which hot rock rises from the lower mantle while cooler rock sinks from close to the surface.

Reference:
Schematic view of Earth's mantle

The Earth’s interior is chemically divided into layers consisting of a crust and mantle made of rock and a core made of iron. Tomography using seismic waves reveals the structures within mantle. The Pacific plate is sinking via the Japan Trench and stretching out under the Eurasian continent, and that hot plumes exist under the South Pacific Ocean and Africa.

Scene 1 Hot plumes

As the relatively cool and dense plates sink into the ocean trenches, they fall toward the mantle. In turn, hot plumes rise from the lower mantle in separate locations. As these hot plumes approach the surface, they split into smaller plumes, forming volcanic eruptions.

Scene 2 Rift valley

The Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa is huge rifts and faults which run the continent, dotted with numerous active volcanoes and lakes. The movement that splits the continent is thought to be related to an enormous hot plume deep in the mantle. As this plume continues to grow, the ocean will eventually rush in, creating a sea like the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.