In May, as ESA’s comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft begins a series of manoeuvres to bring it closer to its target, so another vehicle is closing in on its target here on Earth: the Rosetta truck, a touring exhibition that will rendezvous with 16 cities across Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

An impressive exhibition truck packed with information and interactive demonstrations about the mission will depart from Finland at the start of May, and embark on a 5000 km journey through Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The Rosetta truck will visit Vaasa, Oulu, Trondheim, Oslo, Borlänge, Gothenburg, Aarhus, Copenhagen, Linköping, Södertälje, Turku, Helsinki, Lahti, Tampere, Jyväskylä and Seinäjoki. The full programme is provided at the end of this post.

The Rosetta tour truck

The Rosetta tour truck. Credits: ESA

Cook a comet and snap a Rosetta-themed ‘selfie’
The truck contains models of Rosetta and its Philae lander, a comet-cooking laboratory, and a cometary surface mock-up upon which visitors can sit. They can also take an out-of-this world ‘selfie’ with the comet and Rosetta models.

Children can also try to land their own landers onto the comet and the best attempts will be rewarded with ESA branded goodies. Paxi, the small space-faring mascot of ESA Education, will also join the ride and meet with the visiting children.

All this is accompanied with detailed information displays, and local specialists explaining the science and technology of the mission, from the role of comets in the formation of the Solar System, to Rosetta’s journey around the planets and the sophisticated technology that makes the mission possible. Naturally, the involvement of the Nordic countries in the mission will be highlighted.

The Rosetta tour truck will visit 16 cities across Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Credits: ESA

The Rosetta tour truck will visit 16 cities across Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Click to enlarge. Credits: ESA

Track the Rosetta truck!
Even if you are unable to join the exhibition you can still follow the adventure online via the Rosetta blog, the Rosetta Mission Facebook page, and the @ESA_Rosetta twitter page. Videos, photos and reports from the truck – from the team and from visitors – will be published on these social media channels.

The local organisers are also encouraging everyone in their countries to track the truck’s journey. Take a photo of the Rosetta truck, and post it to the Rosetta Mission Facebook page or to the @ESA_Rosetta twitter account with the hashtag #rosettatour, and the participants sending the most interesting photos will receive ESA goodies.

Check the timetable below and join the adventure!

Times, in CEST, refer to “open truck” hours. Feel free to just turn up!

Rosetta on tour
2 May Vaasa, Market Square (FI); 12:00-18:00
3 May Oulu, Tietomaa Science Centre (FI); 09:00-19:00
5 May Trondheim, University Campus (NO); 09:00-18:00
6 May Trondheim, University Campus (NO); 09:00-15:00
7 May Oslo, Institute of astrophysics and physic (NO); 09:00-20:00
8 May Oslo, Institute of astrophysics and physic (NO); 09:00-15:00
9 May Borlänge, Framtidsmuseet (SE); 09:00-18:00
10 May Göteborg, Vetenskapsfestivalen (SE); 12:00-18:00
11 May Göteborg, Vetenskapsfestivalen (SE); 10:00-13:00
12 May Aarhus, Steno Museum (DK); 10:00-16:00 (+ public lectures in truck and planetarium 20:00-22:00)
13 May Aarhus, Steno Museum (DK); 09:00-13:00
14 May Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Copenhagen (DK); 10:00-15:00
15 May Linköping (SE); 09:00-18:00 (school visits)
16 May Södertälje (SE); 14:30-18:00
18 May Turku, Market Square (FI); 09:00-18:00
19 May Helsinki, Narinkkatori (FI); 09:00-19:00 (+ public lectures in the Univ. of Helsinki, Porthania building,  17:00-19:00)
20 May Helsinki, Narinkkatori (FI); 09:00-18:00
21 May Lahti, Library Square (FI); 09:00-18:00
22 May Tampere, Laukontori (FI); 09:00-18:00
23 May Jyväskylä, Are Square (FI); 09:00-18:00
24 May Seinäjoki, Kauppatori (FI); 09:00-16:00

The truck is built in Finland and the tour is supported by ESA and space authorities and organisations participating in the Rosetta mission: the Swedish National Space Board in Sweden, the Norwegian Space Centre in Norway, the Danish ministry of Higher Education and Science with Terma in Denmark, and in Finland by Tekes, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Ursa Astronomical Association.