In November 2014 the Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko made the headlines when its Philae lander completed a successful unpowered descent onto the surface of the comet nucleus after “7 hours of terror” for the mission scientists. 67P's irregular shape and rotation made this task even more challenging. Philae fell almost radially towards 67P, as shown in an animation produced by the European Space Agency (ESA) prior to the event. Below, we investigate whether it is possible to model the spacecraft's descent time and impact speed using concepts taught in an introductory physics course.

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Supplementary Material

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