Rocket Ignited in Vacuum in Slow Motion Challenges Newton's Third Law

Equipped with some solid rocket propellant, this YouTuber builds a miniature version of NASA's solid rocket boosters to test in a vacuum chamber.
Loukia Papadopoulos

YouTuber Warped Perception (WP) is known for his slow-motion videos often featuring powerful engines. "I believe that slow motion and ultra slow motion videos give us a look into a world which we normally cannot see but we know it exists," says his About section.

In this session, WP was motivated by some flat-earthers and conspiracy theorists to test Newton's third law of motion. He set out to build a "bigger better vacuum chamber" to see how a rocket behaves in an atmosphere with nothing to push against.

WP used a Solid Rocket Booster in the chamber. "If we get a reaction and the rocket motor produces thrust while in a vacuum then we know Newtons 3rd Law applies regardless of the presence of an atmosphere and many of the theories can be put to rest," he wrote in his video description.

WP even contacted the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Illinois to get some solid rocket propellant. Lucky for us, they had some on hand to give him along with everything else he could need to build a miniature version of a solid rocket booster similar to what NASA uses. Not bad!

Since these motors produce a powerful thrust, WP had to come up with an efficient way to mount them. Thus he invented what he calls the "four-legged spider."

We won't tell you what happened next, but, needless to say, it was fun to watch and scientifically interesting!