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ISSUE 19 - March 2016

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How a Cartoon Series Helped the Public Care about Rosetta and Philae (page 12)
Claudia Mignone, Emily Baldwin, Karen S. O’Flaherty, Anne-Mareike Homfeld, Markus Bauer, Mark McCaughrean, Sebastian Marcu, Carlo Palazzari

Key Words
Outreach, space science, public engagement, visual storytelling, fairy-tale, cartoon, animation, anthropomorphising


Once upon a time... is a series of short cartoons that have been developed as part of the European Space Agency’s communication campaign to raise awareness about the Rosetta mission. The series features two anthropomorphic characters depicting the Rosetta orbiter and Philae lander, introducing the mission story, goals and milestones with a fairy- tale air. This article explores the development of the cartoon series and the level of engagement it generated, as well as presenting various issues that were encountered using this approach. We also examine how different audiences responded to our decision to anthropomorphise the spacecraft.

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