by Eric Stribling
The 2023 Phoenix Fan Fusion (PFF) recently wrapped up with another blockbuster celebration of all things pop culture – comics, film, television, gaming, and more. But this year, thanks to Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative, attendees got a chance to explore the farthest reaches of the universe without ever leaving the Phoenix Convention Center.
ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative (II), a leading institution dedicated to solving the human challenges associated with space exploration, brought a galactic flair to this annual convention. Collaborating with Meteor Studio, II brought an out-of-this-world experience to the attendees with a unique VR setup that let fans walk on the Martian surface. The table was also joined by undergraduate students from ASCEND (Aerospace Scholarships to Challenge and Educate New Discoverers) who were showcasing actual balloon-borne satellites, known as balloonsats. These high-altitude weather balloons had previously gathered invaluable data from the edge of space. Additionally, ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative hosted an interactive activity for the younger attendees (and the young at heart). Kids and adults alike had the opportunity to design and draw on postcards that will journey to space aboard a New Shepard rocket, before being returned to the senders stamped “Flown to Space.” What better memento for a fan fusion event than a postcard from the cosmos?
Phoenix Fan Fusion 2023 indeed had a plethora of panels and activities geared towards space exploration and habitation. As such, ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative found itself perfectly aligned with the event’s thematic focus this year, offering an engaging, educational, and, above all, enjoyable exploration of the mysteries of the cosmos.
We’d like to extend our warmest thanks to everyone who visited the Interplanetary Initiative’s booth and took part in our activities. Your enthusiasm for space exploration inspires our continued commitment to fostering innovation, collaboration, and public engagement. Here’s to pushing the boundaries of knowledge, to Phoenix Fan Fusion 2023, and to the exciting future of space exploration that awaits us all! #ASUInterplanetary #PFF2023