Space Messengers@Balloon Fiesta

Space Messengers is honored to be one of four artist installations selected by the City of Albuquerque Public Arts Program to light up the night for the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum/Balloon Fiesta.

Space Messengers is a multi-artist collaboration. Artists: Agnes Chavez (US), OMAi (AT); Roy Macdonald (CL), David Novack (US), Mathieu Castel (FR), Dylan  Zanow (USA), Digital Ant Media (USA)

STEMarts Ambassadors,  Apprentices, and the four Ambassador winners of the Guadalajara Travel Award, will be serving as your VR experience guides. STEMarts Alumni, Dania Loya, is Production Director this year, with Josh Haggard, Tech Assistant and Melanie Redmond, VR Coordinator.

Ambassadors: Claire Legate, Destiny Jaramillo, Feliciana Mitchell-Gonzales, Megan Odom, Rocio Aguilar, Serina Martinez, Sirena Quezada, Selena Pacheco, Sophia Bates, Shaylee Mirabal and Taylor Streit. We have an exciting sci-art line up of guest artists and scientists merging for this installation. Check out the Space Messengers creative team.

Special thanks to our sponsors that make this work possible: National Endowment for the Arts, City of Albuquerque Public Arts Office, U.S Consulate General in Guadalajara, NM Trade Alliance, AFRL, Q Station, New Mexico Arts, LANL Foundation, The Encantado Foundation, J3 Fund, MAE Foundation, Intel, Taos Community Foundation, LANL CPO, and our hosts, the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.

October 11-14, 2023, 7-9pm

Come check us out and meet the International STEMarts Ambassadors!

Space Messengers@Planetario Lunaria, Guadalajara Mexico 2022

Interactive silhouettes

The interactive projection wall is the main attraction of the Space Messengers installation with two interactive zones; the Interactive Silhouettes and the Real Time Messaging. We will project onto a 40’ container. As people approach the projection, a sensor mimics their silhouette movements which are seen projected onto the wall as points of light. As they come closer, the participant triggers the infrared sensor which zooms into one of the data points containing hundreds of video clips from our workshops exploring the universe through the lens of the students, artists, scientists and cultural experts. An immersive soundscape fills the projection site with collected space sounds from the NASA library, as well as nature sounds. These 30-second video clips include highlights from the scientist presentations and serve to inspire and inform the audience on topics such as gravitational waves, dark matter and the big bang, as well a future imaginings. They provide a glimpse into the Space Messengers workshop and curriculum. Our hope is that the audience can walk away with an increased appreciation for how science is expanding our understanding of the universe.

Data Visualization: Realtime Messaging

The heart of the interactive projection wall are the ‘space messages’ that are seen floating up on the wall alongside the interactive body silhouettes. They are both archived and real time messages and communicate the science being explored and the reflections and future imaginings from workshop participants as well as the live audience. Their messages become part of the global database as the Space Messengers travels the world collecting the voices of our youth and communities. The archived messages are collected from the Space Board, a custom designed platform that allows participating students, scientists and teachers to co-write messages communicating the science and sharing their thoughts and wishes for a sustainable interplanetary future. The real-time messages are those that the audience can send using the Space Messengers SMS number which is shared on the projection wall. Audience members experience wonder as their space message appears instantly in the projection.

Avatar Scientist Station

This interactive station bridges the real and virtual worlds to create a lively human interaction. An astrophysicist is beamed in from their home location and appears as an avatar on our large scale projection screen. They appear to be inside the Space Messengers VR world . Audience members come up to a ring light and webcam in front of the projection screen and ask them a question about the universe. The astrophysicist can see and interact with the audience member in the physical space at the event. A speaker broadcasts the conversation so spectators can experience the conversation. Participants are always surprised to find out its a real person and not just a cartoon character or AI robot. This popular station has been highly successful at encouraging participants to ask questions about the universe that they always wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Guest Avatars: Dr. Andrea Albert, Astrophysicist, Los Alamos Lab, and Dr. Julia Bluebird, Astrophysicist, National Radio Astronomy.

Earth-Space Virtual Reality (VR) Lounge

The Earth-Space Virtual Reality (VR) Lounge is a curated immersive VR experience that explores our relationship to the universe through science and art.  Sit back in glowing inflatable chairs under the night sky wearing VR headsets to enter two distinct and innovative virtual worlds.

  • Experience the Very Large Array telescopes as an immersive 3D experience. Climb the satellite and learn about this radio waves, multi messengers astronomy and more.The National Radio Astronomy Observatory hosted station, will be guided by Summer Ash, Very Large Array Visitor Center and STEAM Education Manager, and Sophia Dagnello, Scientific Visualizer, NRAO.
  • Explore inside inside a fusion reactor in virtual reality. SciVista will demonstrate technology that is poised to redefine how people interact with complex information in virtual reality.Their VR platform, SummitVR™ is designed to integrate three-dimensional data into virtual reality, and is being used by National Labs, Universities, Engineers, and other large industries for collaborative, immersive, and interactive data visualization.


On October 10 and STEAM Night, October 11, we will have a Cosmic Ray Detector collecting cosmic wave data live. This special station hosted by QuarkNet, will be guided by QuarkNet fellows, Shane Wood and Nathan Unterman who will be explaining the history and significance of cosmic rays. We will also be sending a Cosmic Watch up on one of the balloons to collect cosmic ray data as was done by balloonist, Victor Hess, who first discovered cosmic rays.

NASA + Solar Eclipse + NASA Livestream + RealTime Space Messages

NASA will be next to us on the Balloon Museum field and will have a live broadcast and info booth from Albuquerque during the eclipse.

NASA experts will be on-site in Albuquerque to engage with the public and share the ways NASA studies the Sun and uses that information to understand its impact on Earth, throughout our solar system, and beyond. NASA’s live broadcast will include coverage from Albuquerque. The broadcast will provide a front-row seat to the eclipse and will feature NASA experts across the country explaining the science behind the eclipse, how NASA studies it, and celebrating with the communities experiencing this event.

Visit at any time during the event to send your space message which appears in real time on our interactive projection wall.