An “alien crash site” in New Mexico, created by artist Bob Davis. (Photo: Caitlin McShea)

SFI’s InterPlanetary Project has found a new way to celebrate the mutual influence of sci-fi and science. 

In a podcast interview series that launched November 18, host Caitlin McShea, SFI’s InterPlanetary Festival Director, asks artists, authors, athletes, and scientists to imagine one alien technology that could change the trajectory of human advancement. 

Called “Alien Crash Site,” and hosted at, the podcast is based on the novel Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsy brothers, which imagines that an alien civilization visited our planet and left behind mysterious materials where they landed.  

“Thirteen years ago, an alien civilization visited our planet,” the website says, “and left behind myriad, mysterious materials in their crash sites. These areas, Zones, behave very strangely, but the interplanetary items they contain could change the trajectory of our technological advancement. What appears as a hoop might actually be a perpetual-motion machine. What appears as a slime might alter space-time. . .” 

As to why SFI, a scientific research institute, is discussing science fiction, SFI President David Krakauer says, “It’s because we believe that imagination should be unchained, and that, often, ideas of scientific value are derived outside of the rigorous scientific domain . . . the imagination and method together have superpowers.”

Alien Crash Site is SFI’s second active podcast, joining our official podcast, Complexity