Physics To Go is an online monthly mini-magazine and a collection of more than 1000 websites with physics images, activites, and info. You can view an archived version of our September 1, 2007 issue, Rocket/Hero's engine below, or click to see our September 1, 2013 issue, Two views of Earth.

Physics in Your World

Newton’s Laws of Motion image
Photo credit: The Video Encyclopedia of Physics Demonstrations

Newton’s Laws of Motion

This photo shows a version of Hero's Engine, in this case a flask of water with two openings, pivoted so it can rotate. Click on the photo to see what happens after the Bunsen burner has brought the water to a boil. Two jets of steam shoot out, and the flask spins, in a demonstration of action and reaction (see Rocket Principles and Newton's laws). The reaction forces produce a torque that spins the flask.

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Physics at Home

Soda Pop Can Hero Engine

You can demonstrate action-reaction with an easy-to-build Hero's Engine built from a soda can. Just follow the directions at Soda Pop Can Hero Engine, and be sure to have an adult working with you.


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From Physics Research

Rockets and Robert Goddard image
Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center; image source

Rockets and Robert Goddard

Robert Goddard is shown here (hi-res image) in 1926 with the world's first liquid-fueled rocket, which reached an altitude of 41 feet.  For more information, see the NASA page Robert Goddard: a Man and His Rocket. (You'll find out how his work--and his understanding of Newtonian mechanics--was trashed in a 1920 New York Times editorial, which the Times retracted just after the launch of Apollo 11.)

(This feature was updated on July 16, 2013.)


Worth a Look

The Beginner's Guide to Propulsion

See The Beginner's Guide to Propulsion, from the NASA Glenn Research Center, for a description of how Newton's laws explain rocket propulsion.


This feature was updated on July 16, 2013.


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