Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.

We are so excited to announce the first phase of our science line up for bluedot 2020 including some incredible headline speakers for the festival’s popular DotTalks programme and an unmissable opening concert with the Halle orchestra.

European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake joins us a headliner, sharing stories of his time aboard the International Space Station and his reflections on the future of space travel. We’ll also be welcoming Emmy Award winner Ann Druyan – co-creator of the iconic documentary series Cosmos, writer of the novel and film Contact, and Creative Director behind NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project. It was of course, Voyager 1 that famously turned its cameras back towards Earth to take a series of pictures. Those images showed Earth from a distance of 3.7 billion miles as a small point of bluish light and inspired Druyan’s late partner and original presenter of Cosmos, Carl Sagan, to coin the phrase ‘pale blue dot’ to describe our home planet. From which we, in turn, take inspiration for our festival.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”

In this then, the 30th anniversary of that iconic ‘blue dot’ image, we’re thrilled to welcome back the Halle Orchestra for our opening concert, where they will present a bespoke live score that celebrates that literary work which inspired a generation of star gazers. Cosmos with the Halle Orchestra will take place on the Thursday night.

We’re delighted to also welcome back other festival favourites – The UK Space Agency’s Libby Jackson will be exploring the possibility of life on Mars, the BBC’s Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott will be shocking us with some of space’s most unexpected surprises, and the Open University’s Monica Grady will be returning to tell us just how important one element can be in determining the fate of humanity…

We’ll also be joined by some of our colleagues from the University of Manchester who will be teaching us about everything from gut bacteria to climate change. Katherine Coyte, Chris Jones, Matthew Cobb and Chris Parkes will all be sharing a slice of their work with us over the course of the weekend.

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And don’t miss Ilan Eshkeri’s Space Station Earth, an immersive experience of life in space, in association with European Space Agency.

With even more to be announced over the coming weeks, bluedot’s fifth year is set to be one of the best yet – proving that an interstellar combination of music and science doesn’t occur once every blue moon, but once every bluedot.

bluedot takes place 23-26 July 2020. Weekend tickets are now on sale from just £149, click here to find out more and explore the full lineup.