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June 1997

Egg Drop salutes Mars: Green eggs and hams?

The Mesa Lab parking lot crackled under intense shelling on Friday, 30 May, as the 11th annual NCAR-Bixby Egg Drop congealed. Once again, the inegghaustible imaginations of staff members, their kids, and Bixbyites bred dozens of entries, all produced under cruelty-free conditions. This year the egg drop was peppered by a number of stirring entries hatched by Bixby kids in honor of the Mars Pathfinder mission (see sidebar).

Dropmeisters this year were hard-boiled veterans William Bradley, Bill Randel, and Tim Barnes. At ground zero were judges Cindy Worster and Debby Novak (clad in white uniforms and green lipstick), who gave thumbs-up to surviving entries and thumbs-down to those that ended sunny-side-up. Perennial emcee Brian Bevirt delivered plenty of yolks, while Rick Anthes presented egg-topped trophies to the Most Eggscellent entrant from each institution (see below).

Once the contest was over (easy), Bixby had again shellacked NCAR, with 48% of its entries successful as opposed to 42% of NCAR's creations. The margin this year was narrower than usual, though. Could the day of another NCAR victory--which would be only our second since 1987--be ap-poaching? •BH

Most Eggscellent winners Roger Hendershot and son Reid. (All photos by Carlye Calvin.)

Tim Barnes launches "Sonic Ball," created by NCAR's Julie Emo and daughter Samantha. The egg supported by this red and green framework of balloons met an ignominious end on the pavement. "Beautiful flight, though," noted emcee Brian Bevirt.

"Ganymede," produced by the Marsfest group at Bixby, is launched on its brief but spectacular flight by William Bradley. See an MPEG video of "Ganymede" on the Web.

Overheard at the drop

Students from Bixby egg on their team.

Judges Debby Novak and Cindy Worster render their verdict--this egg is toast.

Winners and other notables

Most Eggsploded

Most Eggological

Most Eggscellent

The Red Planet and the Mesa Lab

A semester's worth of study for Bixby School students ended in a display and reception at the Mesa Lab last month. With the upcoming NASA Pathfinder mission to Mars as a catalyst, the second- through fifth-grade science students explored what it would take to set up housekeeping on Mars. "Last fall, students investigated biological processes and necessary conditions," says Bixby teacher Paulette Gerardy. "Then we began to focus on the details of the Martian environment."

Bixby students produced this array of Mars paraphernalia.

More than egg was dropped in "Mars Eggfinder." Carter Emmart's creation held a remote-controlled vehicle that roved the ML parking lot. It was deployed from a much larger contraption of cardboard and dozens of helium balloons designed to break its fall.

The students generated what Gerardy calls "a tidal wave of creative ideas, designs, and applications." Music, energy, medicine, communication, and recycling were all considered. After going on display at Bixby's Marsfest, the resulting exhibits came to the Mesa Lab lobby in conjunction with the annual egg drop. On Friday, 23 May, the students were treated to an NCAR reception, with Paul Charbonneau and Carter Emmart on hand to walk the students through topographic maps of the Red Planet. Carter also showed the guests of honor his copy of the book Strategies for Mars: A Guide to Human Exploration (published last year by the American Astronautical Society), for which he provided illustrations. The awed students have dubbed him "Carter of Mars." •BH

Near-instant replay! Catch two of the most eggstravagant productions from this year's drop, captured on MPEG video for the Web version of Staff Notes Monthly.

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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu