Watch: Former NASA engineer drops an egg from space without a crack

Mark Rober built a special device with a parachute to land the egg safely on Earth.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Egg drop from space.
Egg drop from space.

Mark Rober/YouTube 

Former NASA engineer Mark Rober wanted to throw an egg safely from the tallest point possible. Since buildings kept getting taller and he wanted to futureproof his experiment, he decided to throw his egg from space. He documented the whole ordeal on video.

An egg attached to a rocket

He called it the most “physically, mentally, and financially draining” video he had ever done. The plan was to clamp an egg in front of a rocket, then attach that rocket to a weather balloon that would go up to space. Once there, the weather balloon would release the rocket, and it would accelerate toward Earth breaking the speed of sound. 

Furthermore, the four fins on the back of the rocket would stir it in the right location to land on a mattress on Earth. To achieve this lofty goal, Rober and his engineer friends broke down the problem into smaller steps. They began by calculating the terminal velocity of an egg. This was 75 mph.

The team then ran a series of tests to see if the egg would break when hitting a mattress at that velocity. They found that a mattress would protect an egg even if it’s traveling faster than its terminal velocity. 

Watch: Former NASA engineer drops an egg from space without a crack
An illustration of the egg rocket

A gigantic mattress

They were now ready to build a target mattress area in the middle of a field in a small town to catch the egg when it returned from space. They made the area substantially bigger than just one mattress to take into account any errors in calculating the egg’s landing location.

Rober worked with Joe from BPS.Space who is an expert at building rockets and is completely self-taught. He then proceeded to add some heating elements surrounding the egg to make sure that it did not freeze in space. Those elements were designed to fall off before the egg landed on Earth.

One drawback

But in the end, the mattress plan proved unsustainable and Rober instead built a device with a parachute that could safely land the egg back on Earth. When the moment came to see if his plan had worked the suspense was palpitable. It did however prove successful and the egg in the intricate device was safe and sound.

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The experiment did have one drawback, and that is that the rig only cut the egg loose at 100,000 feet (19 miles) rather than technically in space, which is about three times that high. But it’s still an impressive experiment.

The only thing missing from the video is to have someone break the egg at the end to prove it was a regular egg and not a fake or hard-boiled one. However, we trust that Rober would not lie. 

The former engineer already holds two Guinness World Records: one for the highest elephant’s toothpaste fountain and the other for the most dominoes set up and toppled in one hour. It seems that Rober is not afraid to get creative to win awards, and his fans love it. As of the writing of the article, his video had 20 million views in four days.