Powerhouse presents the Sydney Science Festival this 2024

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In a pivotal moment aboard the Apollo 8 space mission in 1968, astronaut William Anders captured the iconic Earthrise photograph, a stunning image revealing our planet as a fragile blue marble set amid the vast blackness of space.

The historic snapshot marked humanity’s first glimpse of Earth in colour from space, forever altering our collective perspective.

Now, more than half a century later, Sydney Science Festival 2024 brings together leading creatives and scientists from around the world who are radically rethinking our understanding of sky, Country, and each other. Returning to Sydney for its tenth year from 10–17 August and coinciding with National Science Week, this year’s Sydney Science Festival program unites local and international speakers who are pushing the boundaries of our understanding of the skies above, our diverse landscapes, and the intricate connections between us all.

Sydney Science Festival will feature a series of free and ticketed events that include talks, workshops, and interactive programs throughout the week across Sydney, including at Powerhouse Castle Hill, Sydney Observatory, Parramatta Town Hall, Parramatta Square, and the University of Technology Sydney.

Renowned festival speakers include pioneering spaceship designer and space entrepreneur Dr Susmita Mohanty, who will discuss the challenges of building sustainable habitats beyond Earth and the technologies driving space missions, with Columbia University’s Physics and Astronomy Professor Janna Levin. Space environmentalist Associate Professor Moriba Jah and artist Trevor Paglen will discuss our crowded skies. Australia’s first female astronaut and Director of Space Technology at the Australian Space Agency, Katherine Bennell-Pegg, will be in conversation with artist Xin Liu about what zero gravity means for creative practice and space travel.

A festival highlight will be Sydney Science Festival Family Day at Parramatta Square on Saturday 17 August. Presented by Powerhouse in partnership with the City of Parramatta, it promises an action-packed day of hands-on experiments, demonstrations, coding, and Minecraft workshops. High-school students from Greater Sydney will be invited to participate in special programming featuring Bennell-Pegg, Jah, and remote sensing scientist Dr Maya Nasr as part of the Lang Walker Family Academy program.

Sydney Science Festival 2024 is proudly supported by the NSW Government, affirming its commitment to connecting communities with science and innovation across Australia and internationally. The Festival’s Foundational University Partners include Western Sydney University and the University of Technology Sydney.

NSW Minister for Arts and Tourism John Graham said, ‘The Sydney Science Festival plays a pivotal role in showcasing creativity and innovation in New South Wales. By bringing together leading minds in science and the arts, the festival inspires curiosity, fosters new discoveries, and celebrates our state’s commitment to scientific advancement.’

Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah said, ‘The Powerhouse holds Australia’s most significant collections of science, technology and design. The Festival represents our dedication to connecting industry and community to profile the extraordinary work and achievements of our science leaders.’

Sydney Science Festival 2024
10–17 August 2024

Castle Hill Science Day
Hands-on science fun for all ages exploring space transmission.
Saturday 10 August 2024
Powerhouse Castle Hill
Free, bookings essential

Space for Earth | Susmita Mohanty
Space entrepreneur, Dr Susmita Mohanty on the challenges of building sustainable habitats beyond Earth, and the technologies driving the next generation of future space missions.
Tuesday 13 August 2024
University of Technology Sydney
Free, bookings essential
Celestial Emu | Sydney Observatory Late
Join us at Sydney Observatory to celebrate First Nations Sky and Country.
Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14 August 2024
5.30pm and 7pm
Sydney Observatory
Book tickets here

Our Crowded Skies | Moriba Jah and Trevor Paglen
Space environmentalist Associate Professor Moriba Jah and artist Trevor Paglen, in conversation with Dagogo Altraide, reveal the challenges of a crowded sky, from space junk to ‘invisible’ surveillance satellites to advocate for a dark sky future. 
Wednesday 14 August 2024
Parramatta Town Hall
Free, bookings essential
Passport to Space | Susmita Mohanty and Maya Nasr 
Space entrepreneur and habitat designer Dr Susmita Mohanty joins Dr Maya Nasr in conversation to discuss their shared vision for space exploration that is accessible to all. Thursday 15 August 2024
Parramatta Town Hall
Free, bookings essential
Bodies in Space | Katherine Bennell-Pegg and Xin Liu
Australian astronaut Katherine Bennell-Pegg joins engineer and artist Xin Liu to explore how they have harnessed and overcome the extreme conditions of space.   
Friday 16 August 2024
University of Technology Sydney
Free, bookings essential

Sydney Science Festival Family Day
Hands-on science fun for all ages. Presented by Powerhouse Parramatta and City of Parramatta.
Saturday 17 August 2024
Parramatta Square
Free, bookings essential

Image: Xin Liu. Photography by Robert Chron.