What does the space history have to do with science fiction?  

More than you’d think, actually! Among the many exhibitions the New Mexico Museum of Space History offers is one called Sci Fi & Sci Fact: Two Worlds Collide. As Chris Orwoll, executive director of the New Mexico Museum of Space History shares in this episode’s conversation, TV shows and movies like Star Trek and Star Wars were greatly influential to NASA employees. And that’s just one example!  

 “We don’t think too much about an automatic defibrillator, but where did the idea come from? Or a credit card?” Orwoll asks. “But somebody thought of that long ago actually, and then somebody thought, I can make that a reality.” 

On the flip side, contemporary technologies can influence artists, writers, and filmmakers. For Los Alamos native, science fiction novelist, and astrophysicist student, Ness Brown, the connection between art and science is clear.  

“Truth is stranger than fiction,” Brown says. “And every day, especially with new technologies and new facilities such as the James Webb Space Telescope among many, many other kinds of … avant-garde technologies, we get new and mind-boggling discoveries.” 


Ness Brown’s horror sci-fi novel, The Scourge Between Stars 
International Space Hall of Fame 
Roswell Museum 

We’d love to hear from you! Send feedback to You can write a regular email or record a short voice memo and attach it for us to listen to. 

Visit for info about our museums, historic sites, virtual tours, and more. 

Our favorite way to fully experience everything they have to offer is with the New Mexico CulturePass. Find out how to get yours here

Subscribe to El Palacio Magazine 


Encounter Culture, a production of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, is produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios.
Hosted by Emily Withnall, editor at El Palacio Magazine 
Executive Producer: Daniel Zillmann 
Technical Director & Post-Production Audio: Edwin R. Ruiz 
Recording Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe 
Editor & Production Manager: Alex Riegler 
Editor: Monica Braine (Assiniboine/Lakota) 
Theme Music: D’Santi Nava 
Instagram: @newmexicanculture and @elpalaciomagazine 

Comments are closed.