I kind of want to learn more about it (supercomputers) because the fact that you made something so serious into a comic  makes it more interesting.” – Focus group participant (10 years)

Outreach comic about supercomputers and space weather

Finding Floptopia was a collaborative project commissioned by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE). The comic showcases the Vlasiator project by Minna Palmroth and her team, which uses supercomputing to predict space weather. The comic follows Skye on their journey to understand how space weather affects radio transmissions and whether supercomputers could be used to find new planets. During creation, the comic was reviewed by a  focus group of 9-12 year olds.


Percent of students interested in learning more about supercomputers after reading the comic (based on 12 member focus group, ages 9-12)


Percent of students who felt the tone was a good fit for their age group

Interesting, cool,
Intelligent, inspiring

Words chosen to describe the comic


After receiving their Grandfather’s old radio for their birthday, Skye stays up late browsing radio frequencies to make contact. Unexpectedly, they make friends with an alien broadcasting from the planet Floptopia. Uncertain whether this miraculous connection was a dream or not, Skye sets off for space camp hoping to solve the mystery. With the help of the enigmatic Dr. Rae, Skye discovers the answers may be within their grasp. A tale that breaks down stereotypes and opens wide the bizzare and wonderful worlds of space weather and supercomputers.

Skye (they/them)

Determined, enthusiastic, obsessed with space

Dr. Enigma Rae (she/her)

Friendly, energetic, nurturing


Wants to find out if Floptopia is a real planet


Wants to push the forefront of science using supercomputers

Peer Reviewed

The script and final sketches were reviewed by researchers of the University of Helsinki for their accuracy.

Target audience focus group

A prototype of the comic was reviewed by a focus group 9-12 year olds of varying genders, ethnicities and literacy levels. The comic was well received by the group and their feedback was incorporated into the final design.

The picture looks pretty sick with all the numbers and things, that helps a lot for the coding.

Focus group participantAged 11

When I first came to seeing the comic I thought it was going to be: [bored voice] superhero, superhero, punch, punch, kaboom. Then I was like 'woah what is that?'

Focus group participantAged 10

It was pretty crazy, I really liked it!

Focus group participantAged 9

I like the look of it because it looks cartoony. The bright colours and the shapes, yeah it just looks more cartoony in that world.

Focus group participantAged 12