The 2017 Europlanet Prize for public engagement with planetary science has been awarded to the team behind the ‘Comets – The Rosetta Mission: Journey to the Origins of the Solar System’ exhibition.
Ulrich Köhler, Barbara Stracke and Ekkehard Kührt, of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) of Planetary Research, will accept the award on behalf of the exhibition’s curation team.
Thierry Fouchet, chair of the Europlanet Prize judging panel, said: “The judges were impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the curation team in developing this exhibition, and the energy they have put into disseminating it worldwide through the scheduled tour and online version.
“Rosetta is one of the most complex space missions to ever explore the Solar System and a great success for European planetary science. This exhibition has made a very significant contribution in sharing the achievement and excitement of Rosetta with the general public.”
Tilman Spohn of DLR, who nominated the team for the Europlanet prize, said: “The curation team profited from some members that were going the extra mile more than once. Without their tireless efforts, patience and vision, the exhibition would have never been realised.”
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a thousandth-scale model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko based on data from Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera system, surrounded by backlit photographs of the comet and mission highlights. As well as historical and technical background on comets, the Rosetta mission and its scientific achievements to date, the exhibition also included film-clips highlighting the personal stories of the men and women that made Rosetta a reality.
The exhibition was visited by 820,000 members of the public between August 2016 and January 2017 at the museum in the heart of Germany’s capital. From 2018 on, the exhibition will start a tour of leading venues, including the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria, and other museums in Germany and Switzerland.
The Europlanet Prize, which includes an award of €4,000, will be presented during the European Planetary Science Congress 2017 in Riga, Latvia, on 18 September.
The exhibition has received funding under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.