Introduction: Interactive Model Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko 67P/C-G

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How to make an interactive model of the Comet 67P/C-G.

The thing that drives me crazy is that if you go to any toy shop in the educational section of it, you can find everything related to the planets/satellites/star that belong to our Solar System, but nothing about the most recent achievement for humankind (November 2014 - Rosetta Mission), that actually may reveal something very important to "us" (you know, things like how life started on planet Earth).

Currently you can make a little static model of the Comet 67P downloading the file for the 3D printer from ESA website (unfortunately I don't have the 3D printer).

So, I thought it was time to make a interactive model, from scratch.

Jargon buster

ESA European Space Agency

Rosetta spaceship launched in 2004, it has completed a journey of 800 million km to rendezvous the Comet 67P

Philae robotic lander which made the first ever soft landing on a comet nucleus

Agilkia landing site

Minor Lobe head of the duck

Major Lobe body of the duck

Electronic parts you need:

2x ISD1820 Sound Card

Mini PIR Sensor


LED Blue 3mm

9V Battery connector

Self Locking Switch

Turntable Display

Step 1: Preparing the Paper Mache'

Buy a rubber duck...

Everyone at ESA says that Comet 67P/C-G looks like a rubber duck :-)

therefore please don't blame me.

Cover it with sell-o-tape.

Using the paper mache technique (well-known on Instructables website),

prepare a mixture of wood glue (solvent free) and water on it in a disposable plastic bowl.

Soak the pre-cut stripes of paper (the newspaper is perfect) one at the time and lay it on the duck.

This process is quite tedious and it requires a bit of patience.

You should lay at least 3 layers of paper stripes to make the play set robust.

Let the duck dries up for 24 hours and start to paint it (with water based painting).

The colour detected by Philae (robotic lander) which made the soft (and bouncy) landing on the Comet 67P, is charcoal grey.

Step 2: Philae the Robotic Lander

Making Philae (It's not built to scale) was relatively easy.

I used 1 toothpick, kitchen foil, a piece of 3mm foam board, a bit of UHU Por.

I basically cut 3 little pieces of foam (with Philae shape) glueing them one on top of the other.

After I cut some little stripes of kitchen foil, gluing them around Philae's body.

Using a marker I've also color the "solar panel".

The legs are made using 1 toothpick, cut in 3 parts and stuck into Philae body (at the same height).

You'll understand better why I used kitchen foil in the next steps.

Step 3: Turntable Display & Adding the Electronics

You need to buy a turntable display, where you can place the model of the Comet 67P, that, by the way, spins counterclockwise (for real).

You need also to add all the electronics to make the Comet 67P interactive.

First you should add a PIR sensor, a ISD1820 sound card, 3x 1.5V batteries and a speaker

To do a bit of debugging, you can use a blue LED to see when the PI|R activates itself.

It also will add a touch of outer space atmosphere.

You can record the "voice" of the Comet 67P on the ISD1820 using the onboard microphone.

Now, I don't own the copyright but I'd like to consider the recording of the sound of the Comet 67P as something that belongs to Public Domain and I also intend to make a fair use of it (10sec), making this tutorial for educational purposes.

Anyway, every time you'll pass your hand in front of the PIR, you'll be able to listen to the real sound of the Comet 67P.

Second thing that I did was to record on another ISD1829 module, a short message that gives a bit more of information about this massive achievement obtained by mankind/scientists (since the landing on the Moon).

I stuck 2 wires (the ones you should eventually use to play the sound) out of the head of the duck (or, in a more scientific way), the minor lobe.

Philae is wrapped in kitchen foil which conducts electricity, therefore every time I place the robotic lander on the landing site, it will activate the ISD1820 module. (I used also 2 small permanent magnets) to keep Philae in the right position when the Comet 67P rotates on the turntable display.

Unfortunately Philae, during the landing phase, has bounced a couple of times ending up in a different landing site.

I tried to mark the exact position of this place, using a LED (initially red and, after a second thought, blue).

Step 4: Projector and Final Test

The projector is the one used as a car door welcome...


LED Blue 3mm

You can power it using a 9V battery

9V Battery connector


(please note that you CAN'T power the ISD1820 modules with the same voltage, or you'll "destroy" them,

therefore either you are going to use a 5V voltage regulator, or a small battery case, with 3 AA batteries 4.5V).

Inside of the projector I put a picture of Rosetta spaceship.

The Comet 67P will spin on the turntable display showing that Rosetta is orbiting the Comet 67P...

not bad, eh!

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