Starmus: Space Geeks, Science Peeps and Travel Freaks to Meet at the Canary Islands

Niche travel has many special interests covered — food, wine, literature. I rarely see astronomy and science mixed in with those groups. This isn’t terribly surprising as these are highly specialized interests, and space people typically spend more time inside of offices than they do on the road.

I am a traveler, and I also work in America’s human space exploration program — a combo of interests that is giving me a keen eye to opportunities that converge science, space, the stars and travel. And as human exploration ramps up to push off of Earth, I am starting to notice more destinations being highlighted as places to connect with the galaxies.

This fall, one such event is taking place in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where traveling space friends will have the opportunity to walk among the lunar-like landscape of Teide National Park under an outstretched Milky Way. Sounds like a pretty spectacular way to spend five days to me.

The Milky Way over Tenerife. Photo Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado via NASA APOD

The Milky Way over Tenerife. Photo Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado via NASA APOD

What it is: The International Starmus Festival is dedicated to the world of astronomy, space exploration and science.

Where it is: This second edition of the festival will be held at the Abama Golf & Spa Resort, in the south of Tenerife, Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco.

When it is: September 22-27.

Who will be there: This year, three Moonwalkers — Harrison Hagan “Jack” Schmitt of Apollo 17, Charles Moss “Charlie” Duke of Apollo 16, and Edgar Dean “Ed” Mitchell of Apollo 14 — will meet in Tenerife, Canary Islands to participate in the Starmus Festival this September. The first festival in 2011 included Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11, Bill Anders of Apollo 8 and Jim Lovell of Apollo 13.

In addition to space heroes, Nobel Prize Winners such as Robert Wilson and Sir Harold Kroto will attend; Ethologist, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins will be there; as well as international figures from various fields of science, knowledge and the arts.

What to expect:

  • A three-day conference
  • Roundtable discussion transmitted live from the GTC Telescope in La Palma
  • A Star Party in the Teide National Park
  • Astro-photography exhibition
  • “Space legends” event
  • “Sonic Universe” Concert
  • Optional tours to the observatories in Tenerife and La Palma are available


To attend, visit the official site and register:


About the area:

Aerial shot of the Canary Islands

Aerial shot of the Canary Islands

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands, also known simply as “the Canaries,” are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, where they enjoy a wonderful, mild climate with an average temperature of 21C all year round.



Tenerife, Canary Islands

Tenerife, Canary Islands


Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands. The 3718 meter high volcano Mount Teide dominates the island with its huge crater. It is an island of many contrasts and micro climates with mountains, forests and beautiful beaches.



La Palma, the "Beautiful Island"

La Palma, the “Beautiful Island”

La Palma
La Palma also called the “beautiful island” because of its exuberant countryside. It is the most north-westerly of the Canaries. La Palma has an area of 706 km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands.

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Categories: Adventure + Exploration, Europe, Space, Stories, Where to Travel

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