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ISSUE 19 - March 2016

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Using Competitions to Engage the Public: Lessons Learnt from Rosetta (page 37)
Karen S. O’Flaherty, Emily Baldwin, Claudia Mignone, Anne-Mareike Homfeld, Daniel Scuka, Andreas Schepers, Manuela Braun, Fulvia Croci, Livia Giacomini, Nathalie Journo, Markus Bauer, Mark McCaughrean

Science communication, public engagement, public participation, competitions, lessons learnt, space science, Rosetta


The year 2014 was an historic and challenging time for the Rosetta mission. On 20 January the spacecraft awoke from a 957-day hibernation; by August, it had arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko; and in November, the lander Philae was deployed to the comet’s surface. These milestones were communicated by traditional outreach channels — on websites and via press events — as well as through the extensive use of social media. To provide an opportunity for the public to participate actively in these milestones, the European Space Agency and its partners ran three competitions. In this article we outline how these competitions provided a means for the public to engage with what was to become one of the most exciting space science missions in decades.

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