Gravity Design Challenge

1. observe
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NOVICE BUILDER
Builders use the engineering design process to create their own projects based on preexisting inventions. To become a Builder, you must show the ability to build and design as many time as needed to make your inventions works. Pick an experiment to build and answer the questions with your findings! Experts will evaluate your answers. To get the Novice Builder badge you only need 5 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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BUILDER APPRENTICE
Builders use the engineering design process to create their own projects based on preexisting inventions. To become a Builder, you must show the ability to build and design as many time as needed to make your inventions works. Pick an experiment to build and answer the questions with your findings! Experts will evaluate your answers. To get the Builder Apprentices badge you need 50 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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BUILDER EXPERT
Builders use the engineering design process to create their own projects based on preexisting inventions. To become a Builder, you must show the ability to build and design as many time as needed to make your inventions works. Pick an experiment to build and answer the questions with your findings! Experts will evaluate your answers. To get the Builder Expert badge you need 100 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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MASTER BUILDER
Builders use the engineering design process to create their own projects based on preexisting inventions. To become a Builder, you must show the ability to build and design as many time as needed to make your inventions works. Pick an experiment to build and answer the questions with your findings! Experts will evaluate your answers. To get the Master Builder badge you need 150 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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ENGINEER APPRENTICE
Engineers know there is more than one way to do something. To become an Engineer, you must test multiple options and recommend a new solution for the same problem. How did you modify the experiment to make it better is a very important question for an engineer! Pick an experiment to build and answer the questions with your findings! Experts will evaluate your answers. To get the Engineer Apprentice badge you need 200 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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ENGINEER EXPERT
Engineers know there is more than one way to do something. To become an Engineer, you must test multiple options and recommend a new solution for the same problem. How did you modify the experiment to make it better is a very important question for an engineer! Pick an experiment to build and answer the questions with your findings! Experts will evaluate your answers. To get the Engineer Expert badge you need 250 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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MASTER ENGINEER
Engineers know there is more than one way to do something. To become an Engineer, you must test multiple options and recommend a new solution for the same problem. How did you modify the experiment to make it better is a very important question for an engineer! Pick an experiment to build and answer the questions with your findings! Experts will evaluate your answers. To get the Engineer Expert badge you need 300 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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INVENTOR APPRENTICE
To be an Inventor, you must go to the next level! You have to develop totally new and creative inventions and designs. You identify a problem and create a totally new solution. Share you project and experts will evaluate it. To get the Inventor Apprentice badge you need 350 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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INVENTOR EXPERT
To be an Inventor, you must go to the next level! You have to develop totally new and creative inventions and designs. You identify a problem and create a totally new solution. Share you project and experts will evaluate it. To get the Inventor Expert badge you need 400 points!Click on the badge for more information.
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MASTER INVENTOR
To be an Inventor, you must go to the next level! You have to develop totally new and creative inventions and designs. You identify a problem and create a totally new solution. Share you project and experts will evaluate it. To get the Master Inventor badge you need 500 points!Click on the badge for more information.
collect badges
Build at least three components for a Rube Goldberg space mission: a launch mechanism, an orbit transfer mechanism, and a gravity well that simulates the orbit.

2.build

Instructional video by:
Answering questions on this activity counts as your submission to the Gravity Design Challenge.

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activity

A. Launch Mechanism

  1. Design a self-powered rocket. There are many ways to do this, one is to use a chemical reaction to built up pressure in a film canister, like in this activity. But any mechanism which causes a device to shoot in the air (as opposed to you throwing it in the air) will do.
  2. Figure out where you want your rocket to go, and design a launch platform that directs your rocket in that direction.  Cardboard and tape works well here.

B. Orbit Transfer Mechanism

  1. Find or build a funnel to catch your rocket or transfer the momentum of your rocket to another object.
  2. Find a way to secure your funnel off the ground.
  3. Make a track that connects the funnel to the gravity well.

TIP: If you can, try to attach a marble to your rocket in such a way that it will detach from the rocket and go down the track into the gravity well. If that’s too challenging, you can simply have your rocket knock a marble down a track into the gravity well.


C. Gravity Well

  1. Create a gravity well, or a stretchy fabric that has some kind of weight in the middle.  Check out this activity for more details.
  2. Angle the track from the funnel onto some part of the gravity well, so that when a marble goes through the funnel, it will roll around the gravity well with your desired orbit. Play around with the direction and height of the track to get the orbit you want.

explore

What is a Rube Goldberg Machine? A Rube Goldberg machine is an overly complicated machine used to do a really simple task, like turning on a light switch or filling a glass of water.  A good Rube Goldberg machines is as complex and convoluted as possible. Here are some sample Rube Goldberg Machines to use as inspiration:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine

http://nyti.ms/15VdYWx#RubeGoldberg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w


Through your Rube Goldberg machine, you will simulate three parts of a space mission: launching your space vehicle, dropping your payload into space, and entering into orbit around a planet. Space vehicles are usually made up of a launch vehicle (the rocket) and the payload (a communications satellite, space telescope, orbiter, etc.).  Your launch vehicle can be made of things like gravity-fed water rockets, slingshots, balloon power, etc. but must include an element of self-powered free-flight.  For example, you may not simple throw your vehicle into the air.


Although this Rube Goldberg machine doesn’t exactly simulate a space mission (we aren’t sending our rocket into outer space!) it does deal with several of the issues that astronauts face, like how to generate enough force to get a spaceship far off the ground, or what angle to approach a planet to enter into orbit. But there are many other factors to take into account in a space mission!  We encourage you to design new components to the mission and to make your machine as complex as possible.  Bonus points for adding components that are space-mission-themed.
to submit your answer or to show us your response to the challenge questions