Retro Astronaut

Explore the cosmos with a 3 part series in April examining all dimensions of Space - Past, Present and Future.

RSVP Here:

This week - Journey back in time as NightLife launches its very first Space Month with a celebration of the imagination, culture, and technological advances of the Space Age—from Sputnik to Apollo.

Lectures presented by Computer History Museum & B612 Foundation


Golden Age of Space
(African Hall)

  • 7:30pm - The Computer History Museum presents a talk about Space Race tech: Learn about the computing power integral to some of NASA’s biggest missions with Glenn Bugos, historian and former NASA employee, and Frank O’Brien, author of The Apollo Guidance Computer
  • 8:30pm - Forty years after its launch in 1977, the iconic Voyager Golden Record, a message to extraterrestrials filled with sounds from Earth, was released commercially on vinyl for the first time. Join David Pescovitz, co-producer of the 40th Anniversary edition and co-editor of Boing Boing, and Timothy Ferris, producer of the original Voyager Record and best-selling science author, for an illuminating talk on the legacy of this hopeful time capsule. After the talk, pick up your own copy of the Grammy Award-winning box set—a celebration of science and music for the ages.

Straight from the Astronaut's Mouth
(The Forum; 2nd floor)

The B612 Foundation, asteroid research and planetary defense organization, presents a talk by Dr. Ed Lu, former NASA astronaut. During his 12-year career, he logged over 206 days in space, including missions to the International Space Station.

Space Sound and Sight
(The Piazza)
6:00 - 10:00pm
Immerse yourself in the colors and sounds of retro-futurism: Command your own mission on vintage space-themed pinball machines from the Pacific Pinball Museum and listen to Andy Cabic of Vetiver and Daniel T spin songs like a satellite.

Vintage Synth Sounds
(Coral Reef)
Synth workshop from 6:00-8:00pm 
Ambient Synth Set from 8:00 - 9:30pm

Get space-trippy during a synthesizer workshop with the Vintage Synthesizer Museum and recreate some of the mid-century cosmic Moog sounds popular in early electronic music.

Sets by:

  • Brian Tester (Minerals/Spaceburn/WOE)
  • ​Lance Hill (Vintage Synth Museum)
  • The Imagination Club (LeHeat)
  • Soft Sync (San Diego)

Spaced Inspired
(Project Lab)
6:00 - 10:00pm

Artists from Paint Pens Collective will showcase their own retro space-inspired art while space-themed projections by Colin Harrington will transform the Academy. Then learn about the science that inspired the high tech gadgets in Star Trek and Dr. Who? from Sinead Borgersen at Veritas.



  • Hurry! Last entry for our Rainforest dome is at 7:45 pm. Please note: drinks are not allowed inside the Rainforest exhibit.
  • Thirsty? Each bar area features a unique seasonal cocktail—there are multiple bars throughout the museum.
  • Special programs and lectures may have limited seating and admission will also be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.



  • Planetarium passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Early event arrival is strongly recommended due to limited capacity and high demand for passes.



  • Earthquake exhibit is closed in preparation for an all new exhibit.

*Please note—the Shake House will return in June with an all new look and feel!



  • A variety of food options are available at NightLife from 6:00-9:30 pm, including The Academy Cafe, The Terrace Bar and Restaurant, and The Academy Cafe Food Cart located in the front lobby.
  • Enjoy a different fresh seasonal "craft on draft" cocktail at each NightLife bar area designed by our resident mixologist Shane McKnight!

All bars accept cash and credit cards.


Planetarium Shows

6:30 pm

UCSF professor emeritus Nick Kanas will share insights and studies into the human mind in space.

7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

Leave Planet Earth behind as you fly to the farthest reaches of the Universe! Narrated by Sigourney Weaver.

Share This

Get NightLife emails

Delightful NightLife news, delivered weekly.

Upcoming events

July 18th at 6:00 pm

Explore the nocturnal side of the Academy and see what makes the museum at night different.

July 25th at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy at night alongside nearly 60,000 live animals.

August 1st at 6:00 pm

We’re kicking off our music series with homegrown movement maker LaRussell & the surf rock sounds of 3LH.

August 8th at 6:00 pm

Be transported by the grunge punk stylings of Margaritas Podridas and psychedelic rock sounds of opener Fauxes.

August 15th at 6:00 pm

Underground rap pioneer MURS takes center stage, with an opening set from multifaceted hometown artist Z-Man.

August 22nd at 6:00 pm

We’re closing out NightLife Remix with the serene soul vibes of Madison McFerrin and opener Dani Offline.