Many of us tackled the egg drop experiment in science class at some point in our childhood. But this former NASA engineer took it to a whole other level. The stratosphere, to be specific. And just like you’d expect a former NASA engineer to, Mark Rober and his team constantly designed and redesigned a rig that would take an egg to space and drop it back to Earth. They had some help from other Jet Propulsion Lab alumni. And even a parachute made out of the same material used on Mars rovers. And just like the best NASA projects, years of trials, failures, and scrubbed launches are necessary steps to this successful project.
After starting the project three years ago, the video above thankfully ends in triumph. And it has over 17 million views in the few days since it was posted! Both the egg in the rocket and the redundant backup egg Rober insisted on including land back on Earth fully intact. Though the rig cut them loose at 100,000 feet (which is “only” about 19 miles up) rather than technically in space (which is about three times that high). The only thing missing is someone breaking the egg at the end to prove it was a regular egg. We’re sure they didn’t hard boil it in advance. But they do mention the addition of a warming device to keep the egg from freezing on the way up.
Rober jokes about creating the world’s largest mattress and executing the world’s tallest egg drop. Even if those aren’t actual records he’s chasing, he already holds two Guinness World Records. One for highest elephant’s toothpaste fountain and the other for most dominoes set up and toppled in one hour. The Mark Rober YouTube channel has those and other fun but unnecessary feats of engineering, including the increasingly complex mazes he sets up for backyard squirrels and wildly convoluted glitterbomb traps for package thieves.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.