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Egg Drop From Space

Nov 26, 2022
this is


and this is an egg moments before you tried to throw an egg world's highest now in an egg throwing competition in case you never had a chance to do it yourself in school the goal is to build a contraption that can protect a raw egg from breaking when


ped from the highest possible guy, so my original plan was to


an egg on a contraption that I built from the tallest building in the world, but humans are always building taller buildings, so if I really wanted to test this record in the future, I realized I would have to. go all the way to the top and straight into outer


and when i started this journey three years ago i knew if i could draw my experience of landing things on other planets i would be guaranteed the record but what i didn't know is this would be the most exhausting video since the physical and mental point of view i would never try, but first let me explain what i was thinking: the plan was to strap an egg to the front of a rocket and then attach that rocket to a weather balloon. and take it into space once there, the weather balloon would release it and just using gravity, the rocket would eventually accelerate past Mach 1 breaking the speed of sound and then autonomously adjust the four flaps on the back to steer itself. itself to the target location and then 300 feet above the ground it would release the egg which would fall freely onto a mattress we had placed on the ground and it all seemed pretty straightforward so like any good engineer we split the problem into smaller steps start first with calculating the terminal velocity of an egg and by terminal velocity I mean that any object including humans has a maximum velocity at which it falls once the force of the Earth pushing on it towards it is balanced by recoil force to collide with more and more air molecules as you start to fall faster for humans than top speed is approx 120 miles per hour and after doing some simple math for an egg it tops out at 75 miles per hour to make sure the egg wouldn't break if we dropped it on a mattress at its terminal velocity we did our first test and, since we couldn't find a tall enough building whose lawyers would agree to let us throw an egg over the side and onto a mattress we had to improvise a bit 83. yea check out the egg with no cracks so our mattress protects a egg even if it travels faster than its terminal velocity is a good start the next step in our DIY space program was to go back to my friends in the small farming town of Gridley California which is the place where he broke the world record for toothpaste for elephants, where the plan was to place a Target mattress so the egg would fall in the middle of a field with a bit of a margin built in just in case, ok, t we've got the smoke charge back here so like we're coming down from the sky we want to be able to detect it this is the computer here are the fins by the way this is Joe. and he has a fascinating channel called BPS space and what the thing that he finds especially cool is that he didn't go to school for any kind of engineering degree, he's completely self-taught and recently even landed a SpaceX-style launched rocket after seven years to try.
egg drop from space
Joe was in charge of tracking and guiding the rocket to the mattress. using these movable tail fins while I was in charge of the payload, in other words Howie would prevent the egg from freezing on the way up in a small oven with heaters that would break before we fell along with the mechanisms to release the egg. the egg and the purpose of this first trip to Gridley was basically a flight characterization test before spending all the time and money getting the balloon up into space we're only here to do a low altitude test at 10,000 feet only to prove to ourselves that we can steer the rocket using the fence we are setting all kinds of world records here the biggest mattress in the world the fastest egg yes the highest egg the fall what could go wrong plus 4000 things one d so with everything more or less in place and ready to go all we needed now was an official egg which luckily Gridley has in abundance hey precious devils in the history of our universe this first chicken he has ever laid an egg that will go faster than the speed of supersonic sound Mach One Sorry, I leave you my congratulations, so the next morning we are up at 4 am. minute decision to add a metal streamer to the back of the rocket to make it easier to track visually we have redundancy all around here we have redundant wires redundant igniters Mark has two servos in the fairing with no silly glitches and that's exactly when we had our first dumb glitch, GPS is mad, uh we have to clean up the launch, we were walking back.
egg drop from space

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egg drop from space...

I got the Exile bloop and it pooped it and when cleaning up the release we unfortunately had to release all the helium. of the balloon which is an opportunity I'm not going to pass up hey wow that's great and back at home base we ran some tests which confirmed our hypothesis that since the GPS unit was right at the top the rear of the rocket, the last minute edition of the metal streamer was interfering with the GPS signal and that messed up the math of the rocket and the calculation of its speed, so we thought it was time to release the egg, so early to the next morning we returned with some modifications, the most important ones.
egg drop from space
I'm swapping out the metal tracking streamer for one made of plastic. The good news is that today there is almost no wind. The bad news is about 20 degrees colder, which means our mattresses are kind of frozen. the rocket to the new balloon launch site send it send it i think we will send it is happening if we see it oh yeah yeah oh there it is and although everything looked great then quickly r We noticed that the balloon was going up at a slower rate than expected As we anticipated, we're already south and only halfway there, which totally missed the intended trajectory, so after a few more minutes, we decided to manually drop the rocket because we were already so far away. too far of course for the rocket to make up for the lateral distance of the mattress using just the fins and gravity three two one clicked oh boy that's not good and that's when we ran into the second problem of the day when the Finns forced actively the rocket in an uncontrolled death spiral has an altitude of 1400 descending fast ok it landed somewhere check the mattress just in case and since we have the gps coordinates of the rocket we go out to track it the real question is what is the state of the egg, I think Mark.
egg drop from space
I may have some bad news for you, at which point we are met with a whole field of sitting birds, which is another opportunity I'm not going to pass up, is that a suit, no egg, the egg dropped. Look, the fact that this is out means the egg did hatch, so that's good, but despite that silver lining, the moving fins seem to be forcing the rocket into a dive, which was surprising because Joe definitely it would go through a lot of analysis and testing before. Coming here so after doing a thorough review of images and firmware he was able to locate and fix a single rogue minus in the code that seemed to be causing all the control issues which meant we were ready to give this last chance. we ran out of spare parts and spare weather balloons so regardless of the outcome this would be the last try if we couldn't land the egg on a mattress from 10,000 feet we would have no hope of it falling over for all the way. down space freak that's some nerdy space talk because everything is exactly as expected I'm standing in the middle of the world's biggest mattress where hopefully the egg will land in about 45 minutes otherwise we're spinning one of my new videos on world's largest mattress the last step very good girl are you ready for a walk three two a run baby looks good so far we are at 500 meters now for the balloon to hit the target mattress on each launch we start from different points around Gridley , which raises an interesting question, maybe you have wondered how big balloons like hot air balloons steer or I guess they even know where they are going to land and the answer is that computers know the direction and speed of the wind at all heights as you ascend, so on any given day, if these are the forecast wind directions and speeds, we would need to launch ourselves here to be right on the mattress when we get to ten thousand feet, but how do we know all this?
The information is the fascinating part because every day it's someone's job to launch two balloons like this into the sky at noon and midnight London time, but this has been done in over a thousand places around the world in those same two exact times and all of these balloons have something called a radio song attached to them that measures things like altitude, pressure, temperature and wind and then relays the information to ground stations which feed it to the supercomputers and that's why which the weather and wind predictions can be so accurate which is why 2000 of these huge weather balloons go up every day and then they pop and just land somewhere and since they are transmitting a signal some people make a hobby of trying to track it how close we are to the drop point balloon launch that's it and this time we were launching right in the target drop zone which was a good news on the one hand, but it raised some new challenges on the other, where is the 400 controller?
Go something altitude 98 meters I think we're all down. Okay, that was exciting, so we were much closer this time and even managed to steer the rocket in the right direction just a little bit. We found it egg egg no egg wait a minute that's the example. g the egg oh I'm going to crack I mean it ain't cracked so after three failed attempts we still seemed pretty far from where we needed to be which meant it was time for the last buddy phone with my friend Adam stelzner, who you might recognize as this guy from when we landed Curiosity on Mars, he has a PhD from Caltech and he's also the lead engineer for Mars sample return and perseverance, so after explaining to Adam what we were trying to do, it immediately detected a fatal flaw in our brilliant plan and you're making terminal guidance for something the size of a house how you gonna do that? how do you do it?
I mean, I know how you do it physically. they were basically trying to make a precision guided missile dude there are thousands of people who have done this before and they are sworn by federal law not to say a word you say and to be fair you made a good point about the people who could help. we actually can't and even if we figured it out ourselves, the ethics of just posting that how-to video on YouTube is questionable at best and so after some fruitful discussion with Adam, but we pitched it up. and then we do a pitch.
If you start to worry about heating, you might want to start with a two-stage thing. We decided to Pivot and instead of a precisely guided egg landing on a mattress in a small town, we would set our sights on a much more general egg landing target. heading into the desert, but as part of the pivot we completely scrapped our old design and spent a couple of months designing and building a new system that was heavily based on Curiosity Landing because we thought if it could safely put a rover on Mars , it could safely land an egg on Earth so we can still go to space in a weather balloon, but this time the rocket would have fins that wouldn't move and be three times as long and four times as heavy to ensure we got the egg . at superperson ic speeds on the way down, just like NASA detaches the crew stage in the upper atmosphere and then uses arrow break to dissipate a bunch of the energy and velocity that we'd detach from the back half of the rock. it already broke the sound barrier and because it now weighs so much less it would naturally break by mistake and slow down to the new lower terminal velocity, then on Mars the next step is parachute deployment followed by shield separation thermal and we would still in kind launch our own parachute and then release our own nose cone which will then expose our array of damping airbags as you can see here which we borrowed from spirit and opportunity The landings were intentionally ambitious and extremely tricky , but after a couple of months of complete redesign and building we found ourselves atthe desert feeling cautiously optimistic and that was partly due to our lucky orange parachute because when I left NASA my fr My friends gave me this rectangular piece of nylon and for scale it's the exact same rectangle here that is part of the parachute that the rover Curiosity to land, so that piece of parachute is actually one of 80 rectangles that you see here while they were doing final tests. in the world's largest wind tunnel and so it seemed fitting that after some writing, cutting and sewing, it was nobly repurposed for the new Mission, so as the sun set on the hotel, we worked up to high hours of the night in the end. preparations this was an idea and a passion project that took place over three years and it took an amazing amount of work to even get to this point we had thought and prepared for so many things that could go wrong and even though i was feeling optimistic i knew at the end of the day, it was the laws of physics that ultimately determined our fate, so early the next morning, the crew in charge of the balloon arrived at the launch site to start filling it up and this building looks like it's a little different from the others. because it is a zero pressure weather balloon.
The advantage they have over a typical weather balloon is that they can go higher in space, carry more weight, and are open at the bottom, which means they equalize pressure and are impossible to pop, so whenever you want it to go down, you send a signal that will pull down on the string that is sewn into the side of the balloon and it opens like a zipper and self-destructs. The downside is that they are incredibly light and so thin and delicate that you have to be very careful and touch them with gloves and they took about an hour to fill from the four huge helium tanks we had on hand when we made a gut-wrenching discovery hey dude, i have some bad news we need to scrub start getting the helium out of the balloon i want to scrub they had some issues i guess they cant fix today so we are sucking the helium out of the balloon and trying for another day so what are you talking about you talking seriously how does it sound now for context joe was in charge of this part of the rocket and me and my team were in charge of all this individual systems ad nauseam it wasn't until th in the morning we were able to test the integration of the two systems together and when we did it it was immediately clear to me that i had made a critical oversight so tension compression is great it's holding on to that thing fantastically , the problem is that this is so long and heavy, as soon as you move, you want to double the compression of great intention, but this thing that happens in Mach 2 is that it will not work, there are no other balloons in the world of this size to which that we can access this is the only one for another month we're trying to save this one so we can reuse it but any little damage you touch it in the wrong place and now that's a blemish that may actually be a point of failure for a future mission and this was an absolute low point for me, integrating two independent systems is such a classic point of failure in engineering, i was crushed i had missed this and financial concerns aside i felt i had let everyone down not just a I'm and the rest of the team helping but all the other people some of whom drove six hours to get out and look too but that's the thing with glitches they can hurt like crazy but really it's just a process of learning one more way not to do one thing and even though I was sitting there feeling pretty bad like any good engineer, I was already making a list of all the things we were going to fix to come back here and try this damn thing one more time. again and this principle of resilience is something that I think can be learned, in fact I believe in this so much that I started a toy company called crunch labs with the express goal of helping kids think like an engineer so with the building box not only do you get a super fun toy that they put together every month, but they do it together with me as I teach them all the juicy physics of how it works. and looking for something to put on the top of your Christmas wish list or if you want to gift it to someone else so they can be the hero of the household, decide on or use the link in the video description now as for my plan to recover from my own failure We did four things to get really serious and stack the dice in our favor for the final roll.
Firstly we fixed the connection point with a more pod-like design that could handle the bending moment and then at the correct altitude it would autonomously separate the two halves with the black powder charge second we did some testing of vacuum and temperature in a raw egg there is no air pressure and it is very cold in space so if you don't do something to protect the egg during the two hours it takes for the balloon to go up into space it will freeze and break the egg every time , so we tested some heaters in our egg chamber and proved that they keep the egg warm enough.
Third, we build redundancy into our system when NASA sends something to Mars that can't go. the re-fix it so it just has to work and for that reason many critical systems have backups even the part of my own hardware and curiosity that accepted a sample of arm dirt on the belly of the Rover had two doors which opened to the exact same spot in case one of the doors stopped working, in our case redundancy meant making a foot-wide custom beach ball that we would stuff with a second egg surrounded by packing materials with a 20 foot streamer in the back that we would just drop like a rock it would be utterly simple no parachute to deploy no autonomous time sequences or fancy mechanisms this would be our redundant but i would say this is a boring second chance chance to land a safe and fourth egg and finally we went to a local crane.
Backyard to test our two solutions at their respective terminal velocities starting first with the beach ball come on baby oh oh she's alive and then we test the final landing configuration of the rocket oh yeah oh yeah. alas, the Rover's actual parachute held up perfectly and after all we made the six hour journey back into the desert for what I really hoped would be the last time. optimistic and early on we got two very good news, the first relates to that super delicate zero pressure balloon that we had to reuse from the last launch because there was no possible way to get a replacement that just barely touches the balloon leaves you stressed and creates a weak point for it to break so I was obsessively checking the scale reading on the fish which would give us the verdict the force reading is 37.6 kilograms buoyancy.
We would have a breakout but it's holding steady at 37.6 that's a big deal and the second piece of good news is that my friend and hot blooded good luck charm Al Chen had arrived. ze Al as the other guy here with Adam and he's the one that actually said this touchdown confirmed we're safe online if we were successful he'd be the one to make the official call and after all the necessary last minute preparations and three many years here we go girl it was finally time for lift off ready three two one and everything was looking good the balloon Rate of climb was just as we predicted and that meant we sure didn't have a leak and things were finally breaking through It's just what it's supposed to look like, yeah, and it takes about two hours to get to space, so once the balloon reached 30,000 feet, we decided to jump in the car so we could drive to the intended landing site at about 45 minutes.
So far all systems are nominal balloons in the air, it's ascending at the right speed, we've passed some critical threshold points and we're still in the game, the fifth time's the charm, as they say, and we've finally started running the balloon in the car so we stopped for a moment when we reached a major altitude milestone of a hundred thousand feet, I'd say over 100. that's 19 and two and a half miles higher than a typical commercial airliner flies and because the balloon it expands so much as it rises we realized we could even see it from the ground which was awesome oh yeah i know yeah dude thats a bag thats totally what wasn't awesome was when moments later, Joe, while looking through the binoculars, made this truly heartbreaking observation. small you saw it small yes it appears to be smaller but it's strange that it completely disappears followed by a devastating call from the balloon tracking team that fell in the last two minutes yes that's 30,000 feet over the last however so it just went off but these don't go off there's no pressure and that's true they don't go off but unknown to us as we were looking at it from the ground the rocket and beach ball had spun. going round and round in relation to the balloon for about 10 minutes, this meant that the string that attached to the string that self-destroyed the balloon was coiling tighter and tighter until it was so tight that it pulled down the string of the balloon that It's designed to basically unzip and destroy itself, so before we had a chance to release the rock in a beach ball from the balloon, it all started falling in one big tangled heap at 150 miles per hour. , which is much faster than eggs could survive, well come on we started driving and as we drove mostly all I could think about was how our fate would be solely in the hands of the redundant systems we would install.
We think it's probably about two miles that way. The payload could autonomously ditch the Tangled rocket balloon disaster at twenty thousand feet, then it could deploy our lucky orange parachute and land the eggs safely in their airbags and as we parked we knew what it was done with. it was done there was nothing left to do but go hunting to find the remains and reveal Our Fate. I see something orange that looks like a Rover parachute ok we got a thing and seeing the payload itself was a big deal because it meant it had actually ejected autonomously from the wrecked weather balloon disaster at 20,000ft and later when we reviewed the pictures this is exactly what he confirmed and while that was awesome news I knew at this point Point didn't get my hope I mean so let's look through the window some dirt that you look good definitely landing but the landing confirmed whether or not we're safe on our TVD we're going to check to make sure oh man the landing confirmed we're safe on Earth it's a hot egg this was in space and now it's on Earth and it's not broken after that we trace the beach ball which as far as I'm concerned was just extra credit at this point this is the backup The simple fix the real engine A The solution here confirmed that we are safe on Earth, we are safe on Earth two by two, maybe two by two and as we walked away with two unbroken eggs in hand I was reminded that in life things rarely unfold as we think they will. but by learning from your failures along with a little bit of tenacity we humans can achieve a feat as amazing as the world's smartest Martian robot or it's ridiculous as the world's tallest egg you know what would be great because I hope you've learned something watching this video, but how much more would you have learned if you had been in the desert with me helping you troubleshoot and assemble the rocket?
Well I have good news for you because I got the next best thing and it's called the Crunch Labs build. box is a toy delivered right to your door every month and then we build it together while I teach you all the physics juicy that makes it work, you're basically unlocking your own personal Mark Rover video every month Second, where you learn a new engineering principle that will make you not only build like an engineer but more importantly think like an engineer so you build that resilience and those problem solving skills and by the way don't fall asleep to how cool the toys are. they'll build together they're actually like this insanely accurate rapid fire disc launcher or this link energy drawing machine or this rube goldberg style catapult launcher that will make you feel like you just landed your own egg from space and i should mention that crunchlabs is a real place is where we design all these boxes and it has a tennis ball cannon and the longest Hot Wheels track in the world and a foam pit and a bunch of other cool inventions and every month when you open the box it comes to you by mail you have a chance to find the Platinum ticket and if your box has it that means you and your family can come and visit me and my team for a day and we will build some cool stuff together so I Ifwant to embark on this year long journey with me and make a sad Christmas tree like this a happy Christmas tree just go to or use the link in the video description where we are giving away two months free as a gift. holiday special

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