Space Rocks: Final panellists for Science Fiction vs. Space Fact debate announced!

This star-studded cast will discuss how the creativity of science fiction compliments or contradicts the reality of space science


The final panellists for Space RocksScience Fiction vs. Space Fact session have been announced, and this group contains an excellent blend of knowledge and creativity with a bucket list of interesting topics to discuss. The members of this panel, ready to share their knowledge and passion about everything space and space exploration, include the European Space Agency’s (ESA) own astronaut Tim Peake, musician and science fiction fan Charlotte Hatherley, film director and co-creator of the 2009 science fiction classic ‘Moon’ Gavin Rothery, ESA’s senior advisor for space and exploration Mark McCaughrean and also the best-selling science fiction author Alastair Reynolds. On the 22 April at the indigo at The O2, London, the Science Fiction vs. Space Fact discussion will commence as the second session of the day and will take place between 3:30pm – 6pm.

Alexander Milas the director of Twin V. Ltd. – the consultancy and media production house – and also co-founder of Space Rocks, says, “It’s no secret that we’re in a golden age of science fiction, but where does the fiction end and where do the facts begin? With a truly all-star panel of artists, creators, writers, space scientists, and a truly iconic space voyager we seek to explore and celebrate this remarkable era for a session that’ll be equal parts fascinating and fun.”

Breakdown of the Science Fiction vs. Space Fact panel

Charlotte Hatherley will mix space and music together in her debut live performance of her new cinematic, sci-fi inspired record ‘True Love’ in session three of Space Rocks. Charlotte is best known for her work as the guitarist of the rock band Ash, but she has collaborated with many other musicians including Bryan Ferry, KT Tunstall and XTC’s Andy Partridge.

Tim Peake, ESA’s astronaut can impart much wisdom with his experiences and training as an astronaut starting in May 2009, which made him the first British ESA astronaut and the second astronaut from the United Kingdom. On 15 December 2015, Tim was sent to the International Space Station as part of the Principia mission, and he will also be participating in the Space Academy panel in session one.

Gavin Rothery is a concept artist, writer and director specialising in sci-fi. Gavin was responsible for the co-creation and design of the 2009 Bafta Award-winning movie ‘Moon’, which was directed by Duncan Jones. His recent work includes numerous starship designs for ‘Star Citizen’, a promo video for Charlotte Hatherley’s ‘A Sign’ and is currently in pre-production for his feature film directing debut ‘Archive’.

Prof. Mark McCaughrean is ESA’s Senior Advisor for Science and Exploration and co-founder of Space Rocks. Mark work involves studying the birth of stars and planets using an array of ground- and space-based telescope. Mark is excited about the whole event, as he says, “Many of us working in space today were inspired by the vibrant predictions of classic science fiction books and films from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to ‘Star Wars’, alongside actual space missions like Apollo. But as people now speculate about colonising Mars or even travelling to the stars, how easy is it to turn science fiction into real space missions? Where do the boundaries between the routine, the difficult, and the completely impossible lie? That’s what we’ll explore in this exciting session.”

Dr. Alastair Reynolds was formerly an ESA scientist, but now he is best known as an award-winning science fiction author for his Revelation Space and Poseidon’s Children series.

Other events for the day

Session One (12:30pm – 2:30pm) – Space Academy

This session is ideal for families including children, and it will feature many interesting and educational discussions from ESA scientists, engineers and friends. Some of the big names that will be present include ESA astronaut Tim Peake, astrophysicist Dr. Maggie Lieu, Antarctic medical researcher Dr. Beth Healey and Rosetta comet-lander project scientist Dr. Matt Taylor. Covering a wide range of space science related topics from what is currently in the works to what is around the corner, this is the best chance to get some answers to the questions that Google can’t answer.

Session Three (7:30pm – 10:30pm) – Space Rocks Live

With some amazing acts on show, including Arcane Roots (electro exclusive), Charlotte Hatherley and Lonely Robot featuring Kim Seviour, this final session of the day will combine the arts and science in a unique and exhilarating way.

Space Rocks takes place at the indigo at The O2 in London on Sunday 22 April. Book your tickets now! For updates follow Space Rocks on Twitter and Facebook

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