To the Moon and Back: SpaceFest Takes Off at the National Space Centre

Moon bouncing, Star Trek, signals to space and tours of the National Space Centre come together to bring Space Fest visitors an out of this world celebration of space in Cork. 

An astronomical week of events is set to kick off at the National Space Centre (NSC) from 13 – 20 November as the secure facility opens to the public for an inaugural celebration of space held with Greywood Arts.

After a sold-out weekend pilot programme last year, this year’s arts and science collaboration has grown into an 8-day Science Week Space Festival thanks to funding and support from Science Foundation Ireland. Each event explores space through both science and art, and events include an astrophotography workshop, an interactive demonstration exploring the physics of flight through circus skills, and an experimental music communication workshop with the final recording sent into space. 

“Art and science both begin with curiosity and experimentation in pursuit of understanding, whether we seek answers to the inner workings of the universe or about the human condition. Space inspires us to look at what lies beyond our planet, but also ultimately to look back at ourselves and our relationship to Earth,” said Jessica Bonenfant, Artistic Director of Greywood Arts. 

Tuesday night features The Science of Science Fiction with best-selling SciFi and fantasy author Diane Duane. A long-time resident of Ireland, her incredibly varied science fiction and writing career includes authoring nine novels in the Star Trek® universe as well as her immensely popular Young Wizards fantasy series. She’ll be joining Frances McCarthy of MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory for a 60 minute online discussion on grounding fiction in accurate science, in making complex concepts accessible to both authors and readers, and the changes and challenges of being a woman in Science Fiction through her long career. Fans of all ages are invited to submit questions for Diane in advance of the workshop to @spacefestIE on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

The week culminates in The Inevitable Ether exhibition at the NSC, featuring collaborative Artists-in-Residence Emilia Tapprest and Valerie van Zuijlen. The pair will present an immersive video installation for the fictional documentary Our Side of the Moon, which follows the story of a pair of “moon bouncers” who utilise an archaic form of radio communication to bounce messages back and forth off the moon. Parts of the film have been shot on site at the National Space Centre, including a cameo from Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO at the NSC, who commented:

“We are living in a time where what was science fiction is now reality. With missions to Mars, passenger space flights and the first Irish satellite, we’re seeing an interest in space we haven’t seen since the 1960s and the first moon walk. Space Fest is a great opportunity to capture that fascination and open the science of space to a wide and inclusive audience.”

Tickets to the exhibition include a tour of the National Space Centre. Tickets for all events are free of charge but online booking is essential at https://spacefest.ie  

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