SETIcon—where Science and Imagination Meet—Kicks Off Today

Astronauts, Planet Hunters, Artists, Sci-Fi Actors & Writers Meet in Silicon Valley June 22-24

SETIcon—where Science and Imagination Meet—Kicks Off Today

Astronauts, Planet Hunters, Artists, Sci-Fi Actors & Writers Meet in Silicon Valley June 22-24

Top scientists and creative talent from the world of Sci-Fi are converging on Silicon Valley today for SETIcon II , a weekend celebration of science and the arts for the public, from June 22 – 24. More than 60 famous astronauts, scientists, artists, musicians, and authors are gathering to share ideas on our place in the universe and our future in space. The convention is open to the public and the programs will be non-technical, so everyone can participate. SETIcon II general admission tickets can be purchased in person, beginning June 22nd at 4PM PDT at the SETIcon venue, the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, 5101 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054.

SETIcon II kicks off Friday evening, June 22nd, with two stars of space science: Mae Jemison and Alan Stern. Jemison is physician and, as a Shuttle astronaut, was the first African-American woman in space. She played Lieutenant Palmer on “Star Trek: Next Generation” and now leads the new “100 Year Starship” project, an independent, non-governmental, long-term initiative which will ensure that the capabilities for human interstellar flight exist within the next 100 years. Stern is a planetary scientist now focused on commericalization of space; he’s also a space program executive and leading scientist on the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond. Stern is training to fly space research missions with Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace next year. They are followed by a sneak-preview of SHUTTLE 3D and The New Pioneers about the final shuttle mission, and a party featuring the band, “The Kepler Mission.”

“The discovery of new worlds is announced almost daily,” said David Morrison, Director of the Carl Sagan Center which focuses on astrobiology at the SETI Institute. “Almost 800 planets have been hunted down and confirmed. Just this week, NASA's Kepler Mission announced the discovery of two really bizarre planets, a really odd couple. Kepler-36b is a rocky world 1.5 times the radius of Earth, and Kepler-36c is a gaseous orb closer in size to Neptune. They whiz around their sun in just days which makes them much too hot to host life as we know it. This is another intriguing discovery on the pathway to finding an Earth-like planet around a star like the Sun, one of the topics for expert panels at SETIcon II this weekend.”

Saturday and Sunday will offer more than 60 SETIcon II presenters who will probe such questions as the existence of ancient oceans on Mars, whether we’ll soon find Earth’s twin around a distant star, and why-oh-why are Hollywood aliens so relentlessly hostile? Here’s what some of the participants are saying about SETIcon:

“SETICon brings together two of my most favorite things - science and science fiction,” said Dr. Gerry Harp, Director of SETI Research at SETI Institute. “It also attracts an intelligent group of attendees that know the difference. I intend to have a wonderful time!”

“The SETI Quest and Astrobiology searching for life in all its forms are the most fundamental quests and we live at an age where both can become reality at any time,” said Dr. Natalie Cabrol, planetary scientist at SETI Institute. “This quest belongs to all of mankind, not only scientists and SETIcon is a unique place to share the road to discovery.”

“I love working at the intersection of art, science, and exploration,” said Andre Bormanis, producer and science consultant for Star Trek. “SETIcon is a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas and information with leading scientists, writers, and artists about one of the most important questions humankind has ever pondered!”


“I'm so much looking forward to participating in SETIcon - looks like it will be a really fun event with a lot of interesting people,” said vulcanologist Rosaly Lopes who explores volcanoes throughout the solar system.

“I'm looking forward to my first SETIcon, an energetic forum for explorers who believe in and anticipate humanity's future in space,” said Tom Jones, ex-astronaut and commerical space entrapenur. “I can't wait to share experiences and brainstorm new ideas.”

The exciting line up of panel discussion on Saturday includes:

· Asteroids: Junk Piles of Resources for the Next Generation?

· How to Survive Your Trip to Mars

· Commercial Space and Suborbital Science – The Wave of the Future

· Cosmophobia—Doomday 2012 and Other Fiction Science

· Mars—Why is It So Cool to Be Red?

· All Abord the 100 Year Starship!

· Visioning the Codmos: An Artist’s Perspective

And, on Sunday, more panels explore exciting topics:

· Humans vs. Robots: Who Should Explore Space?

· How Do you Invent an Alien Language?

· How to Survive and Alien Infection: Protectin ght Planet from Extreme Biology

· ET Biology: How Often Does Hollywood Get It Right?

· The Kepler Mission: Revolutionizing Astronomy for the 21st Century

· Gaming the Future: Science and Video Games

  • And more!

Individual scientists, writers, and artists will be interviewed in 30 minute “fireside chats” where the audience can ask questions. Several authors will be signing books, which are available at the SETIcon store in the exhibit area that features space mission exhibits, and the Geodome from California Academy of Science, which will be showing “Fragile Planet.”

The complete program for SETIcon II lists the panels, fireside chats, auction items, and celebrations. The program is rounded out with space exhibits, art, films, and an auction of space-related items, art, wine, flights, and science adventures! All proceeds from SETIcon II help support the award-winning scientific and educational work of the nonprofit SETI Institute, and are tax deducitble.

General admission tickets are available at the door, beginning Friday June 22, 4 PM.

For much more information go to:

Accredited journalists wanting to attend SETIcon can sign up for complimentary press registration with Curtis Sparrer at

Research Thrust: 

About SETI Institute

Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary research and education organization whose mission is to explore, understand, and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe. Our research encompasses the physical and biological sciences and leverages expertise in data analytics, machine learning and advanced signal detection technologies.  The Institute is a distinguished research partner for industry, academia and government agencies, including NASA and NSF.