Enough talk. Malls are out, Mars is in. But how to get there? Don’t be fooled by the unnecessary complications spouted by NASA or Elon Musk. For about $15 we can make our own way to Mars.

Build your own rocket using paper and fizzing tablets! Watch it lift off. How high does your rocket go? High enough, okay?


  • Paper, regular 8-1/2- by 11-inch paper, such as computer printer paper or even notebook paper.
  • Plastic 35-mm film canister (see hints below)
  • Cellophane tape
  • Scissors
  • Effervescing (fizzing) antacid tablet (the kind used to settle an upset stomach)
  • Paper towels
  • Water

Hints: Use eye protection (like eye glasses, sun glasses, or safety glasses). Or don’t. Just have fun.

There is no one right way to make a dangerously high-powered rocket. Try a long, skinny rocket or a short, fat rocket. Try a sharp nosecone or a blunt nosecone. Try it with fins or without fins. Experiment!

– Tape fins to your rocket body, if you want.

– Roll the circle (with a wedge cut out) into a cone and tape it to the rocket’s top.

Get ready for take off!

Fill your rocket with 10 liters of liquid propellants and one million pounds of solid rocket propellant. (Your local hobby shop should have plenty) Note: Several practical liquid oxidizers (liquid oxygen, nitrogen tetroxide, and hydrogen peroxide) are available which have better specific impulse than the ammonium perchlorate used in most solid rockets, when paired with comparable fuels.

Blast Off!

  1. Stand your rocket on a launch platform, such as your sidewalk or driveway.
  2. Climb inside a dry part of your rocket construction
  3. Hold on to something
  4. Drop one-half of an effervescing antacid tablet into your fuel canister.
  5. Snap the lid on tight.
  6. Stand back and wait. Your rocket will blast off!
  7. See you on Mars

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