News Release

Exploring new futures in space: a revolutionary integration of neuroscience, quantum physics, and space exploration

Premiering at SXSW 2024, Doppelgängers3 is a feature film and research project that challenges conventional narratives of space colonization by integrating diverse perspectives

Business Announcement

SETI Institute

Doppelgängers3_photography by Nick Ballón_06-web


Doppelgängers3, A film by Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian

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Credit: Photography by Nick Ballón.

February 8, 2024, Mountain View, CA — The SETI Institute, leading humanity's quest to understand the origins and prevalence of life and intelligence in the universe and share that knowledge with the world, is pioneering innovative approaches to understanding our place in the cosmos. The SETI Institute is proud to support a groundbreaking project from London-based filmmaker and SETI Institute Designer of Experiences Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian that combines insights from intergenerational trauma, neuroscience, quantum physics, and space exploration.

Premiering at SXSW 2024, Doppelgängers3 is a feature film and research project that challenges conventional narratives of space colonization by integrating diverse perspectives. Ben Hayoun-Stépanian will present this multidisciplinary endeavor at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2024, highlighting its unique blend of science, culture, and storytelling within the decolonial space and space culture sessions.

The project spotlights the importance of acknowledging collective trauma and its impacts — a burgeoning field in neuropsychology research. By weaving together the stories of three individuals across different geographies, Doppelgängers3 imagines a utopian community on the moon that learns from the past and aspires to a future where diversity and plurality are celebrated.

Doppelgängers3 poses critical questions about these visions, urging a reconsideration of space exploration through a lens that values inclusivity, ethical considerations, and transnational thinking.

Dr. Franck Marchis, Senior Astronomer and Director of Unistellar Citizen Science at the SETI Institute, and a scientific advisor to Doppelgängers3, emphasized the project's approach. " It transcends traditional documentaries by blending neuroscience, quantum physics, and space science with a human touch, fostering new dialogues and collaborations while adding a sprinkle of fun and humor."

The initiative aims to spark conversations in the space science community and contribute to a joint paper for the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

The filmmakers hope that Doppelgängers3 will not be just a film but a movement to decolonize the space sector and imagine new futures that honor our shared humanity and diversity. The project, with its world premiere at SXSW 2024 in the Feature Documentary, Vision Category, invites audiences to engage with bold ideas and creative visions that challenge the status quo.

For more information and updates on Doppelgängers3, visit

Screening dates at SXSW are:

  • March 9, 12pm – 1:15pm, Alamo Lamar 9
  • March 9, 12:30pm – 1:43pm, Alamo Lamar 3
  • March 10, 2:45pm – 3:58pm, Satellite Venue, AFS Cinema
  • March 13, 10:45am – 11:58am, Alamo Lamar 6

The SETI Institute will be presenting a panel discussion at SXSW on Friday, March 8 at 11:30 am (JW Marriott, Salon ABC):

Finding E.T.  Then What?
The quest for E.T. accelerates as humanity’s technology advances. Powerful tools and global collaboration aim to detect signals from alien civilizations. If we find them, understanding and responding will pose unprecedented challenges. Two ground-breaking scientists will join with an artist who staged a revolutionary piece of global theater called A Sign in Space: creating and transmitting an “extraterrestrial” message to be decoded and interpreted by SETI professionals and the public. Can we unite the people of Earth to be prepare for a message from the real E.T.?

The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Franck Marchis and include SETI AIR artist Daniela DePaulis along with Dr. Shelley Wright and Dr. Wael Farah.

Ben Hayoun-Stépanian will also participate in a panel discussion on Friday, March 8 at 4 pm (Austin Convention Center, Room 9C):

Space Feminisms: Reimagining People, Planets, & Power
As informed by the upcoming edited volume "Space Feminisms" (Bloomsbury Press), this panel leverages feminism as a powerful mode of analysis to launch alternate narratives and materialities proposing novel historical interpretations and contemporary configurations of outer space—as informed by the humanities, the social sciences, the arts, and design. Through a dynamic conversation between the book's editors and contributors, we will explore innovative tactics and disruptive participations to envision generative, alternative, and equitable futures in outer space.

About the SETI Institute
Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary research and education organization whose mission is to lead humanity’s quest to understand the origins and prevalence of life and intelligence in the Universe and to share that knowledge with the world. Our research encompasses the physical and biological sciences and leverages expertise in data analytics, machine learning and advanced signal detection technologies. The SETI Institute is a distinguished research partner for industry, academia and government agencies, including NASA and NSF.

Contact information
Rebecca McDonald
Director of Communications
SETI Institute

Doppelgängers3 was made with the support of the BFI Doc Society Fund, awarding National Lottery funding|A Grant for This Film Was Generously Provided by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program with support from Sandbox Films|Doppelgängers3 has been presented at CPH:FORUM of CPH:DOX – Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival 2020|Red Moon Mission in Astroland was supported via a Karman Project Foundation Grant in support of Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian's Karman Fellowship |Scientific support was provided by the SETI Institute (The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute), NASA SSERVI (Solar System Exploration Research Institute)Astroland Interplanetary Agency, and The Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS) at the International Astronautical Federation.

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