Watch ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst demonstrate how Philae will land 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 International Space Station, Alexander attempts to land ‘Philae’ (an ear plug) onto the selected landing site 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.
As the video shows this is a challenging task for Alexander on the Space Station, and he wishes the Rosetta mission all the best with their landing attempt next week.
This video is one of the six experiments and demonstrations in the Flying Classroom programme, where Alexander uses small items to demonstrate several principles of physics in microgravity to students aged 10–17 years.