Newswise — The Santa Fe Institute is launching a project to engage with the global challenge of becoming an InterPlanetary civilization.

The kick-off event in the InterPlanetary series is a panel discussion to be broadcast live on YouTube July 18, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. MDT.

Scientists, science fiction authors, explorers, and artists will meet for a conversation at the historic Lensic theater in downtown Santa Fe. Panelists will discuss issues around the core questions: What will it take to become an InterPlanetary civilization? How should we address the most pressing problems of Earth to tackle a challenge at this scale? What is holding humanity back, and what do we all need to achieve in terms of novel governance, new technologies, shared resources, and global cooperation to achieve this goal?

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Planetary scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton (Arizona State University), the principal investigator for a mission to explore the asteroid Psyche
  • Sandra Moore Faber (UC Santa Cruz), a professor of astronomy and astrophysics and the project investigator for the DEEP2 survey of 50,000 distant galaxies using the Keck Observatory telescopes in Hawaii
  • Science and technology journalist Kate Greene, who spent four months on a simulated Mars mission for NASA
  • Screenwriter, producer, director, and author Jonathan Nolan; who has collaborated on several films including "Interstellar," "Dark Knight," "Memento," and the "Westworld" TV series
  • Transdisciplinary artist, researcher, writer, teacher, and citizen scientist Dario Robleto (Artist-in-residence at the SETI Institute)
  • Digital media executive Scott Ross, who led George Lucas' companies in the 1980s and is a co-founder, along with James Cameron and Stan Winston, of Digital Domain, Inc.
  • Neal Stephenson, author of Seveneves, Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, and other works of speculative fiction who is is currently a Miller Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute
  • and Geoffrey West, a complexity scientist whose 25+ years of research into mathematical scaling laws have recently been published in the widely-acclaimed book Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies.

The event will feature images and ambient sounds by Thomas Ashcraft and Nate Metheny.

“One of the ambitions of this project is to unify," says David Krakauer, the panel discussion's moderator and 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."

Click here for more information on the InterPlanetary Project.

Watch the InterPlanetary Project panel discussion on YouTube Tuesday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. MDT.