Between Science and Fiction
Over the Ascension days the Fantasy Basel opened its doors for fans of film, game, comic, and cosplay from all over Europe. With four halls (total area > 60’000 m2), more than 300 exhibitors, 150 artists, and stars from film and TV, this convention is the largest in Switzerland and “one of the most beautiful cons” in the Universe. The NCCR PlanetS was once more among the exhibitors and inspired people about science and showed them that many things we are doing right now were once science fiction and that science is indeed fantastic.
In the three days of the con, over 52’000 people visited the Fantasy and our PlanetS stand was well attended. Often, visitors would stop at our posters or at the table with the give-aways, which both turned out to be ideal places to start a friendly chat and also quite frequently more in-depth discussion about the “real” science. Sometimes, visitors were also surprised: “What movie is this?”, asked a 12 year old boy pointing at the PlanetS poster with a large crater on Mars. His excitement seemed very genuine when he then realized that we were presenting real missions in space. Each day, different PlanetS representatives held a number of mini-talks about topics like CHEOPS, Trappist 1, UFOs, Space Science, and Rosetta, which always attracted additional people to our stand. The feedback from the visitors regarding our stand was very positive; people with an interest in SciFi seem generally to be very interested in (real) space science as well, and the same seems to be true for a great deal of fantasy fans. Overall, we had a very intense but greatly satisfactory experience at the Fantasy Basel, and we look very much forward to be part of the fifth anniversary of this convention in 2019. (Timm Riesen)