Monday morning armchair physicist

There’s a great urban legend that says a penny tossed off the top of the Empire State building will impact with enough force to embed itself in the ground. Or, if it hit someone in the head, it would kill them.

Last week’s Mythbusters (one of my favorite TV shows) busted the myth experimentally. However, I wanted to understand the math and physics a little better.


NASA is currently holding a press conference after the successful landing of “Opportunity” and potential workaround of the flash memory problem on “Spirit.” I’m reslishing seeing all the engineers cheering and high fives. Much like Pathfinder, this is an amazing opportunity to witness the highs and lows of exploration in near real time.

If you haven’t already seen it, I’d encourage viewing Nova’s: MARS Dead or Alive, especially the third chapter showing some of the technical issues they resolved during testing.