Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rough Science Photo of the Rough Science cast
 Home | Death Valley | Rocket
Introduction
 
Series 4:
Death Valley
Rover
Communication
Spacesuit
Impact
Aerial Surveyor
Rocket
 
The Scientists
Director's Notes
Producer's Notes
Tune In
 
Series 1:
Mediterranean
Series 2:
Carriacou
Series 3:
New Zealand
 
About the Show
Discover More
Feedback
Site Map
 
spacer spacer spacer
Rocket TV Summary  

Our final set of Rough Science space challenges are all about rockets. Mike, Jonathan and Kathy have to make three different rockets, but there's a catch; they're only allowed to use one thing as a fuel — and that's water! They've also got to design their rockets to carry a "passenger" — a (raw) egg. And Ellen and Iain have to find a way of returning the egg safely to Earth.

Each of our 3 rocketeers designs a rocket that fits their science background. Jonathan's is the most ambitious — his physics background inspires him to build a steam powered rocket. Kathy — also a physicist — decides to use pressurised water, and Mike takes a chemical approach, using electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases, and then recombining them to form an explosive mixture. (Hydrogen and oxygen are what NASA uses to fuel its rockets — but the difference is that NASA uses a liquid fuel which can compress far more energy into a much smaller space.) What develops is a Rough Science space race, as the scientists compete to see who can get to the launch pad first, and whose rocket will be the most effective.

Meanwhile, Ellen and Iain have to find a way of putting an egg on each rocket and returning it to Earth. They opt for a parachute made out of bin bags, and design a detachable nosecone for the rockets. However, the "detachable" part proves harder to achieve than first thought...



The rocket takes to the skies... but will it manage to complete the challenge?
Directors Notes

Getting science onto the screen isn't easy — especially in the middle of the desert. Read our director's notes and discover how the crew go that extra mile to bring you Rough Science.