Skimming and scanning with Rosetta

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You must have heard something in the news about the Rosetta probe and its chase of Comet 67P. News items like this one offer tremendous opportunities to develop a number of skills, but in this post I want to focus on developing literacy skills and in particular reading, skimming and scanning. I found a nice article on the topic in the BBC website, so I developed a few questions that could be used to practise skimming and scanning.

Skimming is about getting the gist (main points) of a text and scanning is about identifying specific information quickly.

You can find the BBC article here and the questions to ask are below. If you want the answers to the questions too, please send us an email at

Skimming Questions

1) What is Rosetta’s mission?

2) Why is this mission so exciting?

3) What are scientists hoping to see when the comet gets closer to the Sun?


Scanning Questions

1) What’s the nick name of the comet Rosetta is chasing?

2) What is the maximum length of Comet 67P?

3) For how long was the Rosetta probe in hybernation?

4) At what speed is Rosetta travelling in space?

5) What is the mass of the propellant the Rosetta probe was carrying at launch?

6) How many experiments does the Rosetta probe carry in total?

7) What is the relative speed of Rosetta as it follows the comet from behind?

8) How does Rosetta get electrical power?

9) What is the name of Rosetta’s lander unit?

10) What space agency developed this mission?

11) What will Philae use to anchor itself on Comet 67P?

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