Could You Walk on the Surface of a Comet?

August 6, 2014 6:26 PM

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Could You Walk on the Surface of a Comet?

I recently looked at the physics of an astronaut jumping off the Rosetta spacecraft as it passes comet 67P. Based on my calculations, yes – an astronaut could probably jump in a way that he or she would land on the surface of the comet (if the spacecraft had a low enough relative velocity). Could an astronaut even stand on a comet? I don’t know. I left that as a homework question for you. Maybe you’re still working on the homework.

Ok, so let’s say that you can indeed stand on the surface of a comet. Could you walk? I’m going to go ahead and guess “no”. Why not? Two reasons. First, the gravitational field is quite low such that you probably wouldn’t be able to always keep one foot on the ground during the motion (speed walking...

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