Math in Minute:
Comet c-g edition

Volume 3 Issue 12

Mission Explained

philea Landing in Numbers

In this section you will find many different facts about the landing of Philea on the comet.  Use these numbers for problem solving activities, estimation situations and calculation scenarios.

  • On Wednesday, November 12th, an unmanned spacecraft made history by landing perfectly on its target - a speeding comet that lies at a distance of 310 million miles from earth.The comet is speeding through space at 41,000 miles per hour!
  • Comet C-G orbits the Sun every 6.6 years.
  • The Rosetta space probe that housed the 220-pound washing machine-sized Philae lander.
  • The picture perfect landing on the Space rock that measures 4 kilometers or 2.5 miles in diameter.
  • Philae's battery was only equipped with enough power to last 64 hours - ample time for its solar panel to get exposure to the sun and help it recharge.
  • Launched in 2004, Rosetta had to revolve around Earth thrice and Mars once, before it could gain enough speed and momentum to chase down the comet.
  • By early Saturday, the historical lander lost all contact with its human creators.
  • Philae provided data from a complex experiment that involved drilling a 25-centimeter hole in the comet's surface and extracting a sample for analysis.
  • In 2016, NASA plans to launch a spacecraft that will zip close to an asteroid in a speedy quick three years. However, instead of landing, it will simply extend out its robotic arm, pluck a piece of the rock, and bring it back to Earth for scientists to examine.
  • President Obama has officially challenged NASA to send humans to an asteroid by 2025, and to Mars by the mid-2030s.
  • The comet is between Mars and Jupiter.

Information from Kids News Article, Kids News Article 2 and Questions about Space

Comet c-g smells like rotten eggs because of the presence of sulfur!

Timeline of landing

Artist interpretation of Philae on the surface of the comet.

Critical thinking probes

This section gives the timeline of the landing of Philae on Comet 67P. Using this information, learners can calculate elapsed time to retell how Philae landed on the comet.

Even though Philae has lost contact, ESA believes that the mission was a great success! Do you agree? Why or Why not?

What character traits did the scientists practice during this mission? How do you think you are developing those skills now?