The Santa Fe Institute is launching an InterPlanetary Project — the first project of its kind to combine celebration with experimentation, and conversation with analysis. In collaboration with Creative Santa Fe and other partners, the Institute is planning a series of public events that invite participants to engage with the global challenge of becoming an InterPlanetary civilization.

“One of the ambitions of this project is to unify," says David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute. "A lot of scientific questions divide us, and we now as researchers need to reach out to a much broader base... posing an InterPlanetary challenge is one way to do that."


The first event — A panel discussion July 18, 2017

During the first InterPlanetary event, science fiction authors, scientists, explorers, and artists met for a conversation at the historic Lensic theater in downtown Santa Fe. Panelists discussed issues around the core question: What will it take to become an InterPlanetary civilization?

Read the list of participating panelists.

Read the post, "The Santa Fe Institute's InterPlanetary Project," in WIRED. (June 27, 2017)

Listen to "Science, Imagination, Exploration: SFI's InterPlanetary Project," an interview with Chris Kempes and Brendan Tracey on KSFR public radio (July 3, 2017)

Read "Out of this World," a feature article in the Santa Fe Reporter (July 12, 2017)

Read "Mulder, it's me: The InterPlanetary Project" a feature article in the Santa Fe New Mexican (July 14, 2017)

Read "Hey, Elon Musk, what about toilet paper on Mars?" a feature article in CNET (September 28, 2017)


October 2017 events — Panel Part II, SITE presentation, and city-wide film festival 
  • In anticipation of the city-wide InterPlanetary film festival, Jeffrey Ernstoff will present a performance at The Lensic on Friday, October 13 titled "InterPlanetary Films: How to Keep Score." 
  • Our event partners will host a city-wide InterPlanetary film festival Saturday, October 14. The Jean Cocteau Cinema, SITE Santa Fe, and the Violet Crown will play new and classic sci-fi films. Film titles and show times will be published on the cinemas' websites.
  • October 15, InterPlanetary participants can attend SITE Santa Fe's Future Shock exhibit, and Distinguished Professor Geoffrey West will give an InterPlanetary talk in the space of the Future Shock exhibit. West will be available to sign copies of his book before and after the talk.
  • October 16, MAKE Santa Fe invites participants to create InterPlanetary artifacts in an InterPlanetary Space-Craft event.
  • The event series will conclude October 17 with a community lecture at The Lensic Performing Arts Center. External Professor Manfred Laubichler will lead a panel discussion on "The Past, Present, and Future of the Anthropocene." Historians, biologists, earth scientists, and artists will explore the unprecedented epoch in our planet's history, characterized by human activity.

Read "Into the Anthropocene: Santa Fe Institute's panel on the new epoch" in the Santa Fe New Mexican's Pasatiempo (October 13, 2017)

Read "A canticle for Santa Fe: The SFI InterPlanetary Project" in the Santa Fe New Mexican's Pasatiempo (October 13, 2017)

Read "Arts and Entertainment: Top Picks for the Week" in the Albuquerque Journal (October 13, 2017)

2018 and beyond — Annual InterPlanetary Festival

In June of 2018, the first annual InterPlanetary Festival will draw space enthusiasts from around the world for a two-day celebration of human ingenuity. The festival will transform the Railyard District in downtown Santa Fe with an expo showcasing innovation and technology for space exploration. Concurrent with the expo, participants can enjoy open-air concerts, maker contests, and lectures and discussions around InterPlanetary topics.

The Jean Cocteau and Violet Crown cinemas will play science fiction films on 12 wall-to-wall movie screens, while the Currents New Media festival will display artwork that ties into the InterPlanetary theme.

 “Santa Fe is the most natural home in the galaxy for this Festival," Krakauer notes, "as we have such an abundance of talent in this town, and such amazing partners from film and art through to music and science.”

"This is a festival where we’re asking people to come and have fun," Krakauer says. "It's critical that it be hedonistic. If you want to just come and watch movies, that's great, but people also want to play with drones and design lunar landers and photovoltaics." What sets InterPlanetary apart from other festivals, according to Krakauer, is "the invitation to contribute toward a global challenge. That challenge is becoming an InterPlanetary civilization."

The schedule for the 2018 InterPlanetary Festival will appear on this website.


InterPlanetary and complexity science

Complexity science is the study of living, evolving systems. As the world headquarters for complexity science, researchers at the Santa Fe Institute see the InterPlanetary Project as a way to publicly engage with some of the central themes of complexity science within a shared vision for InterPlanetary civilization.

"To search through outer space we shall need to rise above our inner spaces, and confront the gravest challenges of our time — from reducing disease and economic inequality to managing finite resources and surviving war," Krakauer says. "What we try to do with complexity science is unify – to bring different ideas together to solve very hard problems." The problem of establishing and sustaining an InterPlanetary civilization draws from many ongoing research themes at the Santa Fe Institute, such as archeology, anthropology, economics, the Internet and technology, and the origins of life itself.

Learn more about complexity science at the Santa Fe Institute.

The InterPlanetary Project is supported by the Miller Omega Program.

The InterPlanetary Project panel discussion is generously underwritten by Thornburg Investment Management.