Artist’s rendering of the Perisphere interior for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

The InterPlanetary Project seeks to engage with pressing problems of today by imagining the challenges of tomorrow. Mark Twain wrote, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” InterPlanetary seeks to restore focus at a planetary scale. 

What terrestrial challenge could provide greater focus than nourishing and uniting the peoples of the Earth to explore the extrasolar planets? And what great solutions might we find by searching beyond the confines of our earthly troubles? 

To search through outer space we shall need to rise above our inner spaces, the gravest challenges of our time — from reducing disease and economic inequality, to managing finite resources and surviving war — and to take all necessary steps towards a larger, shared goal: an understanding of life’s place in the universe. Because confronting the challenges of space requires braving and solving the complexities of life.

The InterPlanetary Project is equal parts ideas festival, open-source citizen science platform, and research program. The first project of its kind to combine celebration with experimentation, and conversation with analysis, InterPlanetary seeks nothing less than a whole-planet project — beyond borders, beyond politics, beyond economics — to activate the collective intelligence of this, our first planet.

Video credit: Fatcake Productions


The First InterPlanetary Festival

On June 7th and 8th of 2018, the first annual InterPlanetary Festival drew space enthusiasts from around the world for a celebration of human ingenuity. Each day, approximately 4,800 people attended festival events in the Railyard District in downtown Santa Fe. In addition to live music, immersive art, games, and an innovation expo, festival-goers enjoyed panel discussions with leading thinkers on topics central to the future of our species.

Video recordings of the panel discussions are available through the Santa Fe Institute's YouTube channel. Additional information about the annual festival can be found on the InterPlanetary Festival website.

If you or your organization would like to be involved in the 2019 InterPlanetary Festival, please contact Caitlin McShea at for more information.

The InterPlanetary Project is a collaboration between the Santa Fe Institute and city-wide partners, including Currents New Media, MAKE Santa Fe, SITE Santa Fe, Jean Cocteau Cinema, Violet Crown Cinema, The Center for Contemporary Arts, The Santa Fe Children's Museum, Creative Santa Fe, The Railyard Community Corporation, The Screen at SFUAD, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Thornburg Investment Management, Form & Concept Gallery, BioCultura, OTA Contemporary, EVOKE Contemporary, Second Street Brewery, and many others.


Past InterPlanetary Events


The first event — A panel discussion

During the first InterPlanetary event, science fiction authors, scientists, explorers, and artists met for a conversation at the historic Lensic theater July 18, 2017. Panelists discussed issues around the core question: What will it take to become an InterPlanetary civilization?

Watch SFI President David Krakauer, SFI Distinguished Professor Geoffrey West, SETI artist-in-residence Dario Robleto, Digital Domain Films, Inc. Founder and CGI pioneer Scott Ross, SFI Miller Omega Fellow and critically acclaimed science-fiction author Neal Stephenson, science journalist and HI-SEAS Mars simulation participant Kate Greene, Westworld and InterStellar screenwriter, producer and director Jonah Nolan, and astronomer/astrophysicist and lead investigator of the DEEP2 survey Sandra Moore-Faber discuss an InterPlanetary Future here.

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

The second set of events - The October InterPlanetary Series

In a series of city-wide events October 13-17, 2017, space enthusiasts explored the universe through film, art, creativity, and discussion.

Read more about the October InterPlanetary Series