Three moonwalkers join 2014 Starmus Festival

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, February 14, 2014

A few weeks ago, I announced Astronomy magazine's involvement with the 2014 Starmus Festival, an event that will bring together great minds in astronomy, chemistry, physics, and much more for a week of incredible talks, sharing of information, and appreciation of the knowledge we have of space and the universe. The first Starmus took place in 2011, and the festival again will occur in the Canary Islands, at Tenerife and La Palma, this time September 22-27, 2014. You can find complete information on Starmus at

Today, the organizers of Starmus — including astronomer Garik Israelian and advisers Brian May, Ph.D. astronomer and lead guitarist of Queen, and Alexei Leonov, Russian cosmonaut — have announced that Apollo astronauts Jack Schmitt, Charlie Duke, and Ed Mitchell will be in attendance. Starmus 2014 is definitely shaping up to be as much of a thrill as the 2011 festival. Expect to hear more in the weeks and months leading up to Starmus, and I hope you’ll join Astronomy magazine and me at this exciting event with some of the brightest minds of our time — all under the pristine skies of the Canary Islands.

I offer the full press release from Starmus below ...


Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders (far left), his wife, Valerie (far right), and Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell (second from left) join festival director Garik Israelian (second from right) at the 2011 Starmus Festival. More Apollo astronauts will be in attendance at the 2014 event. // photo courtesy Garik Israelian
Three Moonwalkers join the Starmus Festival

Harrison Hagan “Jack” Schmitt, Charles Moss “Charlie” Duke, and Edgar Dean “Ed” Mitchell will meet in Tenerife in September to participate in the second edition of this multidisciplinary festival for Astrophysics and Space Sciences.  

The Starmus International Festival dedicated to the world of astronomy and science and with the collaboration of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC), the Canary Islands Government through PROMOTUR Turismo de Canarias, the Cabildo of Tenerife, the Cabildo de La Palma, and Astronomical Union International returns to Tenerife to address " Beginnings: the making of the modern cosmos." This will include the participation of three of the men who walked on the Moon: Harrison Schmitt of Apollo 17, Charlie Duke of Apollo 16, and Edgar Mitchell of Apollo 14. Thus, the festival aims to continue the success in 2011 of the first Starmus, which included Apollo astronauts like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11, Bill Anders of Apollo 8, and Jim Lovell of Apollo 13.

This second edition of the festival will merge culture and science, and will once again be held at the Abama Golf & Spa Resort, in the south of Tenerife, between 22 and 27 September.

The festival will allow us to enjoy, learn, and share knowledge and experiences of astronomy, space exploration, and science with three Apollo astronauts, Nobel Prize winners such as Robert Wilson and Sir Harold Kroto, and ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, along with eminent researchers and international figures from various fields of science, knowledge, and the arts.

The Three Moonwalkers
Harrison “Jack” Schmitt was the lunar module pilot of Apollo 17 and became the last person to walk on the Moon. Schmitt suggested that the landing site of Apollo 17 should be the large crater Tsiolkovsky, located on the farside of the Moon, but NASA considered it too dangerous, so it was rejected. Schmitt was also selected for the backup crew of Apollo 15, and he was a clear candidate to participate in the Apollo 18 mission. In 1965, Schmitt resigned his position at the U.S. space agency with the aim to stand as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. He is currently director of Orbital Sciences Corporation.

Edgar Dean “Ed” Mitchell was the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 14 mission and the sixth man to walk on the Moon. Mitchell served as an astronaut in mission support and as a substitute Apollo 9 lunar module pilot for the Apollo 10 mission. He was also selected as a substitute for lunar module pilot of the Apollo 16 mission. Edgar Dean was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. He is the founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and co-founder of the Association of Space Explorers.

Charles Moss “Charlie” Duke participated as Orion lunar module pilot on the Apollo 16 mission in 1972 and explored Descartes. The Apollo 16 mission is considered one of the most successful due to the number of experiments performed on lunar terrain and the amount of rocky material brought back to Earth. Duke decided to leave the Apollo program after the Apollo 16 mission concluded and founded Charlie Duke Enterprises, Inc.

For this occasion, and after the success of the first Starmus held in 2011, the organizers have worked hard to create a unique event. If you would like to attend Starmus 2014, you can do so by accessing Starmus 2014 includes a three-day conference, a roundtable discussion transmitted live from the GTC Telescope in La Palma, a star party in the Teide National Park, an astrophotography exhibition, a "Space legends" event, and the “Sonic Universe” Concert. There are also optional tours to the observatories in Tenerife and La Palma.

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