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Ellen's Rocket Diary Day 1 2 3

Day One

So how do you end a series on space? Shoot up some rockets!

Challenge: The geologist and botanist are to make a parachute and nose cone that will safely bring an egg back to Earth after being shot into the air with a rocket. The physicists and chemists are to make the rockets.

This was fun and funny. First, neither of us had ever thought about parachutes, but that’s no reason not to try. The science seemed pretty straightforward. The parachute was to create drag to slow the landing, but not so much that it would be blown sideways off course.

We had bin bags to work with, plus string and 2-litre bottles. Kate limited us to one dozen eggs. We made several different sized parachutes. Neither Iain nor I are extremely detail-oriented, so we found our first parachutes rocking all over the place on their way down. We quickly learned that the strings had to be exactly, exactly, exactly the same length, not “about” the same length. The bin-bag parachute had to be a circle, a real circle not an approximate circle. The hole in the middle had to really be in the middle. So, we slowed down and made good parachutes. Once we did this, they worked—at least they floated to the ground.


Ellen supervises the rocket tests
Scientists Diaries

It's nearly all over - but will the team be able to complete the final challenge? Follow the task in their diaries: