ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst performs a demonstration of how ESA’s Rosetta mission will attempt to put a lander, called ‘Philae’ on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
Alexander narrates the story of the Rosetta mission and performs a demonstration that visualises the difficulties of landing on an object that has little gravitational pull. Using the weightless environment of the Space Station, Alexander attempts to land ‘Philae’ (an ear plug) onto the surface of the ‘comet’ (an inactive SPHERES robot) with increasing levels of difficulty: a rotating comet that is not moving to one that is both rotating and moving.
This video is one of the six experiments and demonstrations in the Flying Classroom, Alexander will use small items to demonstrate several principles of physics in microgravity to students aged 10–17 years.
The Rosetta mission’s lander, Philae, will be deployed on 12 November at 08:35 GMT/09:35 CET from a distance of 22.5 km from the centre of the comet. It will land about seven hours later, with confirmation expected to arrive at Earth at around 16:00 GMT/17:00 CET.