## Fly me to the Moon!

Welcome to Year 10 Astronomy, Students, Parents and Colleagues!

This semester we will be doing many things – we have almost twenty weeks, so there is a lot of time to get into the fun stuff! We will be starting with:

ROCKETS!

Rockets are amazing – they are Humanity’s ticket off earth, and eventually may be a crucial part of the future history and development of Homo Sapiens. We are starting our study of rockets with some very simple investigations into balloon rockets. Balloon rockets (actually all rockets!) work by pushing gases out the back of the rocket – which due to Newton’s Third Law means that the rocket is pushed forwards!

Think about it – if you put your hands on a wall, and push hard on the wall, you move away from the wall. It’s not because the wall is attached to the ground (although that helps, because you can push harder!), it’s because the wall pushes on you just as hard as you push on it!

Isaac Newton was a seriously weird individual, but also a complete genius – he understood and explained so many parts of physics that we still talk about Newtonian Physics – and almost everything he said was correct (until a fellow named Albert came along – more on that later!). You need to understand Newton’s Laws because we will be working on these in class for the next two weeks!

We will be building our rockets using balloons (spherical balloons! If you want to use something different, you can bring it in…), straws, fishing line, sticky tape and cardboard for fins. We will be doing a couple of experiments as we do this, so it will be very worth your time to do a little research on how to build good balloon rockets (Google is your friend – here are two links that might get you started: 1, 2). We will be investigating how the size of the rocket aperture affects the distance travelled – maybe you could think about this and come up with a hypothesis!

Think about your brief exploration in our last lesson – and remember my attempts to launch balloons (not very successful!) and the times when you have blown up balloons and released them – they don’t travel in a straight line! Even if it is attached to a string which will keep it going in a straight line, if the rocket isn’t aligned properly, it will waste it’s power and not go as far as it could, nor as fast as it could…

What could you do to make your rockets better? The more you think before, the better your rocket will be!

Here is another group of students trying to make their own rockets – maybe you could get some ideas by looking at their designs…

See you in class!