Welcome back Philae!

By Gavin, 14th June 2015

To celebrate the news:

Click the green flag and press S to start …. then press space bar to launch Philae. Arrow keys for left and right. Up arrow for thrust. If it all goes weird, hit R to reset.
Hit the red landing site to get points, but not too fast or you’ll pop! You have limited fuel, so try and get as many points as you can before you run out.


Class notes:
This project was written in Nov 2014 by my seven year-old son and I for fun. We used it (about 2 months ago) to teach his class of 18 seven year old kids about the Rosetta mission.

After watching the ESA video, and some narrative from me, they played this game. After about 10 minutes we went “inside the game” to let them edit the code (e.g. size of comet, speed, etc.), and draw their own Philae (which they loved). The game is deliberately more like lunar lander as I thought it was a bit too much to do a full gravitational and trig-based model with that age group!


Key learning outcomes for the class:

  • What comets are.
  • We sent a spaceship to a comet: it was an amazing achievement.
  • That the spaceship was controlled by software, and we can make something like it.
  • That we can “see inside” a game.
  • That we can edit it to make it our own version.
  • That we can draw our own things.
  • They also got an idea of what stop-frame animation is.

My favourite moment was when I said “we’re now going to go inside the game” and they all looked amazed – one turned and said “are we going to hack into it?!” – to which I said “yes”, of course.

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/60406286 to see the code/copy/modify as you wish.


News about the end of Rosetta’s mission