Parents, Educators & Engineers

Mission: Solar System

Soft Landing

Design and build an airbag system that can safely land an egg dropped onto the floor.

Cars use airbags. Packages use airbags. Why shouldn't eggs use airbags, too? In this video, kids use balloons and other readily available materials to design and build a shell that can protect an egg when it is dropped from a height of three feet. Their systems model the airbag landing systems used by three NASA Mars missions. The video shows kids using the engineering design process, applying a variety of science concepts (e.g., force and energy), and learning about NASA's exploration of the solar system.

Related Activity

Soft Landing

Want to do this challenge with kids? Download the leader notes and handout.
Download (PDF)

Related NASA Video

Airbag landing on Mars

See an airbag landing system in action as a NASA rover lands on Mars and bounces across the surface.
Download video (10.8 MB)
Watch now on NASA

(Scroll to Rover Entry, Descent, and Landing on Mars-2002.)


Related Engineer Video

Erick Ordoñez

NASA materials engineer Erick Ordoñez explains how he makes sure that the materials NASA sends into space are problem-free. Watch now