Written BY: Sabrina Doyle

Don’t miss these speaker events at the 2022 Jasper Dark Sky Festival 

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    Jasper, Alberta, Canada

There are some elements of the Jasper Dark Sky Festival that visitors can experience year-round. The planetarium shows, the telescope tours, the astrophotography experiences are all available in one form or another at other times of year. But the top benefit of visiting the Jasper Dark Sky Preserve during the festival (Oct. 14-23, 2022) is the amazing caliber of talent of the speakers.  

Some are local stars, others come from across the globe to share their expertise. Get ready to be wowed by these fascinating talks, happening during the Jasper Dark Sky Festival.  

Keynote Speaker Jameel Janjua & Pushing the Boundaries of Space Exploration Panel

Friday, Oct. 22 – 1:30pm to 4pm

Venue: Jasper Multipurpose Hall, 305 Bonhomme St.

Get two for one at this Keynote event! First, Calgary native and retired Royal Canadian Air Force major Jameel Janjua will take the stage to talk about how he engineered a career path most only dream of. Then a panel of experts will talk about Pushing the Boundaries of Space Exploration. Shawna Pandya will lead Rob Meyerson, Emma Louden, and Jameel Janjua, on a discussion of what it means to be an explorer, what we still have left to discover, and how space and Earth exploration drive each other forward.

Transforming Ideas into Reality – Rob Meyerson 

Friday, Oct. 21 – 7pm to 8pm

Venue: Jasper Multipurpose Hall, 305 Bonhomme St.

In his high school valedictorian speech, Jeff Bezos described his vision for space settlement – a future where millions of people are living and working in space. Twenty years later, Bezos turned to Rob Meyerson, an aerospace engineer, to transform those ideas into reality. As the president of Blue Origin from 2003 to 2017, Rob built a world-class innovation factory that produced incredible flying machines, including the first rocket to fly to space, return to Earth, and land vertically under its own power. During this keynote, Meyerson will take you behind the scenes during the 100X growth of Blue Origin, and share anecdotes and stories that will make you challenge your own thoughts about what is possible. 

How to Survive on the Moon with Sarah Jane Pell 

Saturday, Oct. 22 – 7pm to 8:30pm

Venue: Jasper Multipurpose Hall, 305 Bonhomme St.

Welcome. You are now the guest of a space-art crew originally scheduled to dock with a Qantas Earth-return vehicle on the lighted surface of the moon. However, you encounter difficulties including spotty Lunar-Google WiFi connection and damaged equipment. Your host Sarah Jane Pell knows the drill and leads the way, but needs your help. Your survival depends on reaching the rendezvous point, signaling the team at the Jasper National Park dark sky reserve, getting a message to the mother ship and transferring frequent flyer rewards to 3D-print a shelter at SpaceBnB terminus until rescue arrives. 

This playful, participatory and informative performance keynote combines elements of a NASA Workshop, an ESA Human Spaceflight Lesson, and the artist’s own civilian astronaut training with a few twists. 

Late Night with Jay Ingram 

Friday, Oct. 21 – 9pm to 10:30pm

Venue: Jasper Multipurpose Hall, 305 Bonhomme St. 

Join Jay Ingram and the Dark Sky Band for a late-night conversation with Seth Shostak, Emma Louden, and Shawna Pandya about what aliens might actually look like! 

*Friday night package available, which includes entry to both Meyerson + Ingram talks 

Science for Breakfast with Jonathan Ward 

Saturday, Oct. 22 – 8am to 10am

Venue: Skyline Lounge, Lobstick Lodge 

Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew 

On February 1, 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over the skies of East Texas. NASA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and more than 200 other organizations, plus thousands of volunteers, leapt into action to find the remains of Columbia’s crew. They launched what became the largest land search-and-recovery operation in US history, as 25,000 people walked every square foot of Columbia’s 250- by 10-mile debris field to search for pieces of wreckage that would identify the cause of the accident, so that NASA could return the Shuttle fleet to flight. Jonathan Ward spent several years interviewing people ranging from the NASA Administrator, to astronauts who led the search for their comrades, to the everyday people of Deep East Texas who volunteered selflessly of their time and talents, to the engineers who reconstructed Columbia’s debris and definitively proved how the accident happened. In this tasty talk, hear their stories.  

*Note: Each Science for Breakfast and Science for Brunch event includes a buffet 

Science for Brunch with Emma Louden 

Saturday, Oct. 22 – 11am to 1pm

Venue: Skyline Lounge, Lobstick Lodge 

Return to Home, Return to Hope – Defining the Third Phase of Space Exploration 

A common criticism of space exploration is “why should we use precious resources to go to space?”. What is the value of studying distant stars or sending humans into space when facing the current, persistent, and catastrophic crises of climate change, racial inequity, and global instability down here on earth? In this talk I will share my vision as an astrophysicist and space entrepreneur for how to respond to that criticism. I will empower the audience with a new understanding of how we can bring humanity home by exploring the dark sky. We are on the brink of a new era of exploration that is markedly different than the Apollo or Shuttle eras. In this third phase of space exploration, the relationship between humanity and the stars is defined by the dark sky as a source of practical hope.  

*Buffet brunch included in ticket price.* 

Trivia Night with Alan Nursall 

Saturday, Oct. 22 – 9:30pm to 11:30pm

Venue: Jasper Legion 

Join us at the Legion for After Dark Trivia Night — an entertaining evening of SCIENCE! Gather a team of 2 or 4 and test your knowledge with a space and science trivia challenge, hosted by Canadian television personality Alan Nursall. It’s a night you won’t want to miss! 18 years or older. 

Science for Breakfast with Torah Kachur 

Sunday, Oct. 23 – 8am to 10am

Venue: Skyline Lounge, Lobstick Lodge 


When the sun goes down and the lights go off many of us look up to the sky for the lightshow of the cosmos.  But some of us look down and around in the dark into the magical world of the nocturnal ecosystem.  From the fox prowling around the garbage can to the bats that take to the skies in search of food, the night is a fascinating time to study the biological world around us.  Sadly, anthropogenic light is damaging precious nocturnal ecosystems and disrupting the lives of everything from moths to bears.  Spend your Sunday breakfast with Torah Kachur as she explores the mysteries of the dark and the dangers of light pollution. 

Science for Brunch with Patrick Pilarski 

Sunday, Oct. 23 – 11am to 1pm

Venue: Skyline Lounge, Lobstick Lodge 

The Next Frontier: Human-Machine Integration 

Recent rapid advances in artificial intelligence have created new opportunities for humans and machines to interact – and work together to help us reach heights we couldn’t have alone. As space exploration continues to grow, even more frontiers are opening, providing unique ways to think about how humans and AI can interact. Join robot “thinkologist” Patrick Pilarski, a world-leader in AI for robotics, as he discusses the state of the art of human-machine interaction – and how concepts from sci-fi might help inspire the next wave of space exploration technology. 

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    Tourism Jasper
    500 Connaught Drive
    Jasper, AB, Canada T0E 1E0

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