The sixth Starmus Festival opened in Yerevan, Armenia on September 5. This year, the festival’s theme, “50 Years on Mars,” is dedicated to Mars—from the first Soviet MARS 3 to the NASA landing missions. From September 5 to 10, speakers and artists will address pressing issues and screen films about the exploration of the planet.
Organizers and participants are celebrating science communication with world-renowned scientists, engineers, and astronauts, who will discuss topics related to space exploration in presentations and workshops that will be offered throughout the week. The events organized for the week will be held throughout Yerevan and are open to the public.
A global festival that combines science, technology, music, and art to enhance science communication, Starmus VI aims to inspire and educate while engaging participants with big questions relating to science. The programs offered at the festival include conferences, speeches, film screenings, concerts, as well as other events.
In attendance are world-renowned artists and scientists, including Astronauts Charlie Duke, Jim Bagian, and Charles Bolden, who is a Former Administrator of NASA, Astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Kip Thorne, Inventor of the iPod Tony Fadell, as well as other prominent figures in the fields of science, technology, culture, and the arts.
A press conference was held on September 5 within the framework of the festival at Hotel Alexander in Yerevan, where speakers emphasized that the Starmus festival is a space for individuals from various fields, with similar interests, to network and share their current projects and ideas.
During the conference, Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at the University College London, was asked about his research and its progress. “The area where I work in relates to climate change, climate science, and my works give a result quite slowly,” said Rapley. “There is no need to expect quick and drastic solutions. People’s thinking about the environment and the climate should change. As a result of that change, people must eventually understand that we impact the planet’s environment, atmospheric layer, and the climate. We must be more organized in our lifestyle,” he added.
Rapley also touched on the challenges of brining “together scientists of various areas to one table,” noting that Starmus “could create that kind of platform.”
Editor-in-chief of “Astronomy” magazine David Eicher said that the festival “an exclusive scientific event” where participants can “celebrate this combination of brain work, in other words, the union of analytical thinking and art, in Armenia.”
According to ex-NASA astronaut and engineer Garrett Reisman, who took part in the conference, “Starmus Festival is about the fact that not only successful people could be involved here, but also ordinary people who are not engaged in science and who are also present today. And coming here is really a gift for me.”
Engineer Tony Fadell noted that he “can confidently say that climate change, as a crisis, was created by us, people, and not our generation, it was done long before us. But we can find a solution and resolve the situation.” He added that he is participating in the process of finding a solution “by investing in consulting organizations which spread the information on how we can mitigate the climate change.”
Planetary scientist Bethany Ehlmann shared that, “by studying Space, we should understand what is the key factor that ensures the continuation of life on the planet Earth, because when we study Mars and Venus, we see that they are very similar to Earth or have been very similar to Earth at least at some moment. How can we ensure the continuation of the life of planet Earth after learning lessons from Mars and Venus? Why do we study? Because we try to understand how we can protect ourselves.”
“I should say that there is music in science and there is science in music. This was really a very influential discovery and impression,” said physicist Scott Hubbard at the conference, where he spoke about meeting new colleagues at the festival and Armenia’s potential for scientific discoveries. “I think that Armenia should continue its commitment and all efforts in the direction of launching its second satellite because after the creation of CubeSats it’s obvious that new countries could be involved in the field of space research,” he said.
During the festival, Armenpress spoke to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Section Manager of Flight Electronics Arbi Karapetian, who discussed the new opportunities that Starmus can create in Armenia. “This isn’t my first time in Armenia and it seems to me that our people are thirsty for science. I believe that science is in all of us, most importantly in children. I met children this morning in Masis, I could see their eyes shine when I was speaking about science, the universe, and NASA,” Karapetian told Armenpress.
The festival is taking place with the support of, and in partnership with, the Government of Armenia, as well as the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports.