The second annual InterPlanetary Festival lands June 14-16, 2019 in Santa Fe’s Railyard Park. Fueled and inspired by the research at the Santa Fe Institute, the festival offers an exploration of complexity science and human ingenuity in the setting of a summer festival full of music, film, art, food, drinks, and more.

How to sustain human civilization, on and beyond Earth, is one of the festival’s enduring questions. This theme carries over from the inaugural festival in 2018, and will be expanded upon in the 2019 festival through an art exhibit on climate change and panel discussions on collective intelligence and sustainable urbanization, which will connect the aspiration of space travel to pressing, real-world challenges. 

“We’re living on a very densely populated Earth where the implications of a single individual’s actions percolate across the whole planet. And yet we behave as if that wasn’t the case because we’ve inherited habits from an era where that wasn’t the case,” says David Krakauer, the Santa Fe Institute’s president and the festival’s initiator. “Space is a laboratory for us to get things right.” 

As the festival aspires to “Change the world, one planet at a time,” it celebrates innovation in science fiction, film, emerging media, maker culture, technology, the arts, and science.  Krakauer asserts that these domains are “inextricably bound,” and that harnessing collective intelligence is humanity’s best hope for meeting the challenges of space exploration, and for sustaining life on our first planet, Earth.

Thanks to philanthropic funding through the Institute’s Miller Omega Program, general admission is free and open to the public.


Program Highlights

The eclectic festival lineup ( reflects the culture of the Santa Fe Institute, long known in scholarly circles for forging collaborations between brilliant minds across disciplines.  

Complete, up-to-date programming is available on the InterPlanetary Festival website (


Unscripted panel discussions ( form the intellectual core of the festival, and bring scientists together with sci-fi authors, artists, and other thought leaders for experimental dialogues.  

·       Saturday, June 15, 12 p.m.—Zen and The Art of Space Exploration panel

How to mentally and physically prepare for athletic feats and long space flights, with Olympic medalist Ashton Eaton, adventure sports photographer Michael Clark, and journalist Gretchen Reynolds, phys-ed columnist for The New York Times

·       Saturday, June 15, 2:20 p.m.—Extremophile Cities panel

From Phoenix to Mars, how to sustain cities in extreme climates, with urban designer Nicholas de Monchaux, architect and former astrophysicist Ann Pendleton-Jullian, urban soundscape designer Jake Harper, and business strategist Suparno Banerjee.

The Extremophile Cities panel will be followed by a presentation about floating ocean cities by The Seasteading Institute’s CEO, Joe Quirk.

·       Saturday, June 15, 3:30 p.m.—Game Design panel

What we in the “real world” can learn from the virtual world with game designers Frank Lantz (NYU Game Center), Tarn Adams (Dwarf Fortress), Lauren Scott (Double Fine Productions), and Jonathan Blow (Braid, The Witness).

·       Saturday, June 15, 4:15 p.m.— The Science of Vintage Space panel

How the early space race led to important astronomical discoveries, with Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists Alan CarrEd FenimoreHerb Funsten, and Jackie Lopez-Barlow.

·       Saturday, June 15, 5:35 p.m.—Building Life from Scratch panel

How solving the mystery of life’s origins on Earth could help us identify other living beings in the universe, with mathematical biologist Chris Kempes, science journalist Alexandra Witze, botanist David Baum, and chemist Kate Adamala.

·       Sunday, June 16, 12 p.m.—World Building panel

How authors invent imaginary worlds, constructed as complex systems with layers of interconnected elements, with Tolkien expert Michael Drout, speculative fiction writer Rebecca Roanhorse, Expanse series authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank, who collectively write under the pen name James S.A. Corey, and SFI Professor Cris Moore.

·       Sunday, June 16, 2:05 p.m.—Time panel

How our experience of time might change once we become an interplanetary civilization, with physicist Sean Carroll, chef Mark Miller, and biologist Colleen Murphy.

·       Sunday, June 16, 3:15 p.m.—Diverse Intelligence panel

How biological intelligence has evolved, including to the artificial, and what other forms of intelligence might yet be invented or discovered, with SFI President David Krakauer, anthropologist Erica Cartmill, sociologist Jacob Foster, and filmmaker Oscar Sharp.

·       Sunday, June 16, 6:25 p.m.—Creative Black Futures panel

What the interplanetary horizon looks like through an Afrofuturist lens, with writer Cyree Jarelle Johnson, founding curator for the Center for Afrofuturist Studies An Duplan, artist Kiyan Williams, sci-fi author Ras Mashramani, and choreographer Marcelline Mandeng.

Art & Cinema

·       June 14-16— “Long View: A Polar Bear Stands in the Desert” sculpture by DKLA Design

A towering sculpture made from car hoods which has already visited Burning Man on its tour of the country. It will make its New Mexico debut at the InterPlanetary Festival.

·       “Sky and Culture Pavillion” immersive art by Thomas Ashcraft

·       An immersive art installation by Albuquerque Art Collective Odd City

·       “Niner Echo X-ray” and “Unit Foxtrot Oscar” sculptures by Bob Davis

·       Friday, June 14, 7 p.m.—“Planet of the Apes” film screening

Director J.W Rinzler will introduce a free outdoor screening of this classic sci-fi film. Rinzler is author of the book Making of the Planet of the Apes, and former executive director of Lucas Ltd. 

·       Saturday June 15, 5:30 p.m. —“Alien” film screening 

Sci-fi authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (pen name: James S.A. Corey) will introduce Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece, screened in the SITE Santa Fe auditorium. Space is limited. 

·       Saturday, June 15, 8 p.m.— CURRENTS New Media afterparty

Stick around after the film screenings and concerts for an afterparty at El Museo Cultural, hosted by CURRENTS New Media 2019 for the one-time, exclusive free admission to the immersive art exhibit and music by DJ duo Spoolius Mélange.

·       Sunday, June 16, 5:30 p.m.— “Apollo 11” film screening

Architect and Urban designer Nicholas de Monchaux will present on the history of the making of the Apollo 11 space suit before a free screening of the recently released documentary, shown in the SITE Santa Fe Auditorium. Space is limited.

Expo & Cosmodities

The Innovations & Ideas Expo and Cosmodity Market run June 15-16 from 12 p.m. – 6p.m. The expo consists of interactive and experiential booths with Complexity Explorer (Santa Fe Institute), the Laboratory for Playful Computation (CU Boulder), MAKE Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, UNM Swarmathon, and other participants.

Local vendors offer face-painting and out-of-this-world trinkets in the Cosmodity Market


·       Saturday, June 15 1:20 p.m.—Tone Ranger

Santa Fe-based dance music that embodies the Southwest

·       Saturday, June 15 4:35 p.m.—Lindy Vision

New Mexico’s own indie-rock trio

·       Saturday, June 15 7:50 p.m.—That1Guy

A solo, futuristic funk act

·       Saturday, June 15 8:55 p.m.— Itchy-O

Denver-based percussion-centered electronic performance

·       Sunday, June 16 1:20 p.m.—Lost Aliens

Electric psych-rock trance from Denver

·       Sunday, June 16 4:45 p.m—The Family Stone

Featuring Founding member Jerry Martini, and Phunne Stone on vocals. All the hits.


Science-minded podcasts will record and broadcast from the InterPlanetary Festival. Join the live audience for the “Planetary Radio,”  “This Week in Science,” “Mindscape,” and the Santa Fe Institute’s new podcast, “Complexity Explorers.”

Food & Drink

This year’s festival includes Area 21, a beer garden which will offer a limited-edition SuperNova InterPlanetary Ale (IPA), brewed by Santa Fe’s Second Street Brewing Company exclusively for the InterPlanetary Festival, and Sierra Blanca Brewery’s Alien Amber and Alien Ale.

Food trucks will convene at the Festival grounds at the Railyard Park, which is also adjacent to the Saturday Santa Fe Farmer’s Market and a short walk from downtown coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores.


For those unable to attend the festival in person, select panel discussions will stream live from the Santa Fe Institute’s YouTube page <>.