National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
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Fantasy Basel 2024 – Call for volunteers

Dear PlanetS members and associates,

Once again, PlanetS will return to Fantasy Basel – the Swiss Comic-con – and we need you! This year will be special as it will mark the tenth anniversary of the festival! The organiser have seen big and the event size will increase by 20% to reach 90 000 m2!

The festival will be held from Thursday 9th until Saturday 11th of May 2024. Last year, the event welcomed 72 000 visitors over the course of the week-end, from which at least 12 000 attendees interacted directly with us at our booth! For those of you not familiar with the event, it is one of the major Swiss (and European) gathering, for fans of movies, fantasy, science-fiction, video games, high-tech, comics, manga, and – thanks to PlanetS and our numerous partners – fans of science too!

The Space Village will again be over 1000m2 of exhibition coordinated by our long-term partner the Swiss Space Museum (SSM), and with the participation of other partners (Swiss Space Exchange, Globi, Amsat-Hb, and more in discussion). As usual, PlanetS will focus on experiments and interactive features for the public (e.g. planetariums). The Space Stage will be back with a packed schedule of public lectures, and novelty this year we will have a Space Science Lounge with comfy sofas to layback and chat about science in a relaxed settings.

We would like to encourage you to join PlanetS as volunteers at our booth. Of course, we cover all expenses to come. Such events for the general public are hugely important, as they give us the opportunity to disseminate more about our fascinating research. It’s about bringing our work closer to the audience, who are the people (if a reminder was necessary) enabling our work to be funded. Everyone – no matter what language you speak, scientist or not – is welcome to be a part of the event. Below you will find more information about the event, details on how to participate, expenses covered, etc.

If you are willing to join, please fill out this form, or if you have further questions, contact Please register as soon as possible, at the latest by Sunday, 17th of March.

Fantasy Basel is an amazing event to interact with the public in a unique atmosphere and the communication team and myself hope you will be numerous to join us again this year! This is a great opportunity for all of us to show people that real science can be at least as, if not more, exiting than science fiction.

Impressions from some previous editions:

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Kind regards,

Thibaut Roger, on behalf of the organising team.



Volunteering at Fantasy Basel PlanetS stand – Some information

1. Basic information


Fantasy Basel, the Swiss Comic-Con, is an established event aimed at a broad audience, spread over 90 000m2 of exhibitions. The topics revolve around science-fiction, fantasy, anime, cosplay, and more. PlanetS has been an integral part of the event for several years now and every time surprises the audience with science and shows how exciting research is in reality.

For more information on the event:

Dates and public opening hours


Messe Basel, Messeplatz 10, 4005 Basel

There is a direct tram from the Basel train-station.

2. Exhibition

The Space Village this year will spread over 1000m2. NCCR PlanetS will be sharing this large space with the Swiss Space Museum, as well as other partners such as  Swiss Space Exchange and more! About a quarter of the area will be the PlanetS interactive features such as experiments and planetariums. Exhibition from the Swiss Space Museum will fill roughly another third, Finally, all the other partners will share the rest of the area with each their own exhibition area. One of the central attraction will be the 1:4 scale model of JWST from Swiss Space Museum and sponsored by the NCCR PlanetS.

Just like last year, the space village will also have its own ±150 seats stage! Equipped with a big screen/sound systems and chairs for the public, it should also have a special decoration like last year. Each day, the public will be able to see talks, round-tables and panels, and more.

A draft floor map for this year Space Area – Some elements might still change positioning as more partners join in.

3. Your job

Volunteers are expected to stay at the stand for half a day (6h), either at the welcome desk (to direct people and provide goodies (posters, postcards, etc.), etc.), at one of the experiment islands, near PlanetS related exhibits (e.g., JWST or JUICE), or operating the planetariums. Note that you will not be fixed to one activity, you are welcome and even encouraged to move from one to the other during your shift(s), rotating with the other volunteers. We also encourage you to organise with the other volunteers to take a couple of small (max 10 minutes) breaks during your shift. You will note that “morning” and “afternoon” shifts are overlapping during 2 hours, to allow for lunch break for everyone.

A note for the stage: for interested volunteers, there might be an opportunity to schedule a session with a couple of mini talks (10 minutes each and Q&A with the public) about planetary sciences, space or astronomy, either in English, German (or French). This is not mandatory at all though.

More details will follow regarding the activities, to the registered participants.

For this year we plan on having a single planetarium. We plan to continuously run 15-20min shows every 30 minutes, in English or German (upon volunteers’ availability for this task). The goal is to run ± the same show related to the theme of this year exhibition (still TBD), whomever is the volunteer operating the telescope (the exact programme will be communicated before the event). If you have never operated the planetarium but would like to learn, please indicate so in the registration form as we might organise a training session before the event.

4. Ideas for experiments

We have a few experiments planned already. If you have any ideas of experiments or interactive exhibitions ideas though, please drop us a message as soon as possible.

5. This is what you get

Volunteers will be refunded for their travel (train), as well as lunch (per diem). And they will receive a PlanetS T-shirt (if they don’t already have one from last editions) to wear during the event, that they can keep afterward. Bottled water (and maybe snacks) will be available for the volunteers.

In case of attendance for multiple consecutive days, dinner will be refunded and a hotel or airBnB night (up to 150CHF/night/person, breakfast included). Volunteers have to arrange for hotel, after approval from the organisation team. We strongly encourage sharing hotel rooms, so you can pick some of the closest hotel while staying within the afore-mentioned price range.

You will also be provided with a free ticket for the event, the day of your volunteering, in exchange for 6h of presence at the stand. This is an exhibitor pass which allow to avoid queue to enter the event. The rest of the day you will be free to enjoy the event! We thus encourage volunteers covering the second shift, to also arrive at 9:00 in the morning if they would like to have time to visit the rest of the event. Volunteers covering 2 days are usually provided with a 3-days exhibitor pass to the event. You will be able to check out the Fantasy Basel programme at the following address:

If you are willing to join, please fill out this form, or contact if you have any questions. Please do so as soon as possible, by Sunday the 17th of March at the maximum.

Based on the interest from previous years, please note that we have a limited budget and number of volunteers who can join. In case there are too many volunteers (though we never had too many so far!) we will select volunteers on a first come first serve base and might limit volunteering to a single day.

6. Mini-talks

Directly next to our stand we will have a stage with 150-200 seats, a giant screen, a sound system and 2 dedicated technicians. Besides some talks, some panels and round-tables with some guests, we might have the opportunity to organise a session composed of 3 or 4 mini-talks (10min/talk) in a row, followed by a joint question time.

There is no requirement to give such a mini-talk, but anyone is welcome to volunteer for one. (We discourage reusing the ones from the very last edition, but those from 2 years ago or more are welcome).

As it is for the general public, your talk does not have to be on your research topic or even planetary sciences. It can be more general on elements of astronomy, astrophysics or space/satellite sciences.

Please provide a catchy title for your potential talk, by Sunday 10th of March, directly to Thibaut Roger. It should be catchy for the public, not for other scientists, so don’t hesitate to overdo it! Mini-talks will be selected depending on availability of the stage and presence days, etc.

Precise schedule and technical details for stage will be sent in the information e-mail for the volunteers (typically one week before the event).

7. Covid-19 measures

Finally, a word regarding the current pandemic context. There are currently no specific rules to match in order to access the event, no need for a certificate or so, and no need for masks. Depending on the evolution of the pandemic, rules might evolve accordingly.

8. Additional information

Volunteers will receive in due time before the event, additional information such as the experiments descriptions, stage schedule, etc.

For the duration of the event, we will also create a whatsapp group that will enable to coordinate our action on the spot, and share again elements that are handy to have on the smartphones, such as the access plans, etc. Please indicate in the signing sheet if you agree to be added to this group, it will not be used for other communication purposes.

If you have any questions in the meantime, on any aspects, don’t hesitate to contact Thibaut Roger who is in charge of coordinating the PlanetS participation to the event:

Categories: Internal Newsletter

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