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Dr. Mae Jemison with Dr. Jill Tarter

Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison (left) discusses the 100 Year Starship foundation at SXSW Interactive 2013, with Dr. Jill Tarter of SETI.

Today’s obvious high point was speaking to astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison for a brief phone interview about the Hundred Year Starship foundation. I spoke with her for an article about how this nonprofit wants to get the whole world thinking about space and the future again. That article will come later this week but in the meantime you can see my Storify of tweets from the #100YSS panel at SXSW or enjoy this great TED Talk by Dr. Jemison. For now, I’ll say our conversation was funny, inspiring, and comfortable — like talking to a very wise friend.

Jemison’s talk is from 2002, but the topics she discusses are still just as relevant 11 years later. Part of what makes the 100YSS project special is that it doesn’t just focus on the technical side of getting humanity into interstellar space, but on the social and cultural side as well. Here she speaks passionately about how art and science can form a balance that elevates our species, and how we have to make both part of our lives and our education if we’re to succeed.

I like to think of ideas as potential energy. They’re really wonderful, but nothing will happen until we risk putting them into action.

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Photo by Kit O’Connell, all rights reserved.