Science Moab goes post-apocalyptic on March 10 with a panel discussion of “Mad Max: Fury Road” and how Moab can avoid a similar dystopian future. [Design by Laurel Hagen]

Souped-up armored dune buggies, mutated warrior cults and robot arms: it’s not your average Science Moab event, and that makes founder Kristina Young excited. 

“It’s going to be amazing,” Young says, looking forward to the final event in the group’s On Tap winter series: a scientific breakdown of 2015’s award-winning movie “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Science Moab On Tap brings scientists together with local residents in a casual environment to talk about current research going on in and around Moab. Events generally focus on one presenter discussing data at a local bar, but for the last event this year the group is switching up both venue and format after a suggestion from a fan.

“She noticed that the desert in “Mad Max” is really messed up, and that it looks a lot like Moab,” Young says, referring to the desolate wasteland that the film’s characters drive across, where sand dunes and dust storms dominate. “We have a group of four panelists and we’re going to be showing clips from the most recent “Mad Max” movie, trying to explain how that desert might have gotten that way from a science perspective.”

This is the first panel discussion that Science Moab has held for an On Tap event, and Drs. Jayne Belnap, Mike Duniway, Travis Nauman and Russell McCallister from Moab’s Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action project will be on hand to examine the dystopian ecosystem and speculate on how Moab could become more like it.

“Mad Max’s desert once was probably not prone to dust storms,” Young says, “but what can happen in these fragile deserts is that big changes can make the ecosystem start degrading: erosion, destabilized crust, the creation of sand dunes and, in the case of Mad Max’s world, you get haboobs, these giant dust storms. These things aren’t inherent to all deserts but can result from climate change and human use.”

Haven’t seen any of the Mad Max films? Young assures me that she’ll be on hand to MC the panel and personally fill audience members in on plotlines and details of the Mad Max world.

For this event, On Tap is relocating to The Helipad (239 W. Center St.), home of the Moab Kitchen.

“We wanted to go to the Helipad because we wanted a space where we could show movies and have it be a little quieter. The Helipad is amazing and they’re a great community space,” says Young.

The Science Moab crew is excited to switch up their routine.

“This event came from a suggestion from someone in the community and we love that so much,” Young says. “We got so excited by the idea we couldn’t not do it. We’re always open to ideas. We always love people reaching out.”

This year, the group is focused on building their nonprofit status, but On Tap will return for the winter season again in November.

“We already have our lineup of speakers selected,” says Young. “It’s so wonderful that the community is so interested and willing to get involved.”

What: Science Moab on Tap: “Mad Max,” Dust & the Future of Moab

When: Tuesday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m. 

Where: The Helipad, 239 W. Center St.