If You Get 29/35 on This Quiz, You Could Fake Your Way as a Rocket Scientist



By: Heather Cahill

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Without rocket science, we wouldn't have made the incredible discoveries and completed the amazing feats that we have in the past. The science allows us to get to destinations that were otherwise impossible to achieve. Remember when Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon? We can thank rocket scientists for their work! So, you think you know all about it?

Do you know how thrust and propulsion work? What about the mechanics of the satellites that are in orbit? Do you know terms such as "microgravity" and "angstrom"? If you don't, you'll want to grab a dictionary. You'll need to know them to ace this quiz!

Do you know the methods used in order to launch spacecraft into space? Do you know what the International Space Station is used for? Can you define the term "electromagnetic energy"? In rocket science, you not only need to be good at math, but you also need to know a little about space as well. So, can you name all of the planets in order?

If you're strong in science and math, and love space, then try your hand at this quiz! Maybe you have what it takes to be the next great asset to NASA and the world.

When talking about spaceflight, what is propulsion?

Spacecraft propulsion has to do with thrusting the spacecraft forward. There are numerous methods and reasons for doing this, such as using the engine to push the spacecraft out of the Earth's atmosphere.


What is an orbital period?

The orbital period is how long it takes for an object to complete a full orbit. This is important for a astronautics engineer to know so that they can do their calculations properly.


Is it true or false that "pitch" is a word used in relation to a rocket's orientation?

This is true. Pitch refers to the way that the rocket turns upon its center of gravity. This commonly takes place as it enters its orbit.


If an orbit changes shape, what will rocket scientists also have to make sure to change?

If the path of the orbit changes, the equation used to calculate it also changes. These equations are used to project the future path of the object or ship.


What is typically used to thrust spacecraft off of the Earth?

Propellants are a type of chemical that launches and thrusts spacecraft into space. Propellants can vary in type from solid to liquid. The propellants create a chemical reaction within that push es the rocket and gives it power.


What is the field that scientists call astrodynamics?

Astrodynamics is the study of how objects move throughout space. It takes into account gravity and atmospheric pulls that can affect trajectories and movement. Understanding how things move throughout space allow astronautics engineers to know how they can manipulate objects and ships.


When scientists are speaking about propulsion, what does "v" stand for?

The letter "v" is used to represent velocity when referencing propulsion. According to NASA, this is part of the general thrust equation in which you must know the velocity, density and area.


Which of these have we not yet orbited or landed on?

We've done a lot of landing in the short time that we've been traveling to space! Although, we haven't made it to one of our favorite dwarf planets yet. Nothing is impossible, so maybe one day we will finally explore it!


What is the main purpose of the International Space Station?

The International Space Station acts as a research hub right in space. Did you know that it is even possible to spot the station from here on Earth? Look up high and don't forget to wave at our astronauts!


Is it true or false that a pulsar, a type of star, sends out electromagnetic energy?

This is true. Pulsars are strong stars that beam radiation all around themselves. They also have a very strong pull that can bring matter toward them.


What do satellites do to make sure they are always facing the correct way?

It important that satellites are pointing the right way while in orbit. In order to do this, they are put on the right path from the start and given a rotation. Their rotation can also be altered by thrusters that can point them the right way if they aren't at the moment.


What word is used to describe the speed of an object in an orbit?

The speed of an object in orbit is called orbital speed. It is another important factor for scientists to be aware of so that they are able to monitor as well as project the future of the object.


What is the term scientists use for the substance they believe exists, but is physically invisible and undetectable?

Dark matter is interesting, as you can't see it, but it is there. The reason we know about dark matter is because it can be detected through other means, such as its strong gravitational pull.


You can find these in a car, but they are also important for astronauts in rocket ships. What are they?

Often, when a rocket is landing, airbags can be used to help it arrive safely. This is just one method that can be used, as they include parachutes and aerobraking.


If thrust is applied to a rocket during an orbit, what will happen?

With thrust, the rocket changes orbit but it will always hit the place where it was first thrusted. This is one method of changing the trajectory of the orbit.


In what shape are orbits naturally occurring?

Orbits take the shape of an ellipse as they circulate around the object. It is possible for the orbit shape to change, but it depends on the thrust and how it is executed.


Is it true or false that microgravity is much stronger than regular gravity?

This is false. Microgravity is the exact opposite, as it is weaker than regular gravity. It is commonly paired up with weightlessness, something that can be experienced in a spaceship.


What travels 300,000 kilometers per second?

Light can travel extremely fast! Especially compared to the speed of sound, which is 0.21313 miles per second. Did you know that it takes light from the sun 8 minutes to reach us here on Earth?


Is it true or false that the center of a comet is called the nucleus?

This is true. The nucleus is a solid centerpiece in the middle of the comet that is made up of dirt and rock. Did you know that some comets are even older than our planets?


What do scientists mean when they mention the gas giants?

Gas giants are a group of planets in our solar system that are quite literally giants! They are made up of Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.


Is it true or false that most of the space debris around our planet is not originally from space?

This is true. Space debris is a buildup of garbage or parts that are from here on Earth, but are currently floating in space. All of this debris is still in the Earth's orbit, however.


Which scientist laid down the foundation of astronautics, years before we ever explored space?

Isaac Newton knew his stuff and was ahead of his time, even back in the 1600s. We all know the famous story of the apple falling on his head, but whether the story is true or not, the theory that came from it was extremely important. It brought us Newton's Laws of Motion, which is still used by astronautics engineers today.


Is it true or false that yaw is a type of rotation used by rocket scientists?

This is true. A yaw rotation, just like the pitch, rotates on an axis at the center of gravity. A yaw rate sensor is used to measure this rotation.


Which of these items is between the Sun and the Earth?

The Interplanetary Magnetic Field is important for an astronautics engineer to know about. The field is a source of solar wind that makes its way through space to us here on Earth.


What does the unit of "angstrom" measure?

This is a word you don't hear everyday – unless you're a rocket scientist of course! Wavelengths look just like they sound, like waves on the ocean. It's usually used in terms of distance between objects.


Which of these things most drastically changes while a spacecraft is landing?

The velocity on the spaceship has to be adjusted if it is going to make a safe landing. As velocity refers to the speed, in order to safely land on a planet, it is imperative that the spaceship slows down.


Besides knowing how the rocket ship works, what else must an astronautics engineer know?

Knowing the mechanics of a ship is very important, but paying attention to the design is also important. The design can also impact the launch, flight and landing of the ship, which engineers need to account for.


What equation is used to calculate the elliptical trajectories of an object in space?

Kepler's equation is important for scientists to know when it comes to calculating trajectories. These equations can get extremely complicated, but they're imperative to the smooth operation of launching a rocket.


What are the official names of the two types of movements studied under astrodynamics?

Celestial and orbital mechanics are two different things under the topic of astrodynamics. Orbital mechanics is all about the spacecraft and how it reacts to its atmosphere, whereas celestial mechanics are all about the movements of outer space objects like comets.


Is it true or false that there is an actual job title called "rocket scientist"?

This is false. Rather than a rocket scientist, the correct job title for these individuals according to NASA is an astronautics engineer. They specialize in getting objects and spacecraft into space and back home successfully, often through the use of math.


Do you know what a skyhook would do if it really existed?

A skyhook is used to launch an object into space from the Earth. What is unique about the Skyhook is that it is not connected to the Earth but rather an orbiting station with a cable connected to it. As the object passes, it catches onto the cable and it is sent into space (theoretically).


Which of the following is not a type of rocket propulsion?

Nuclear is not a type of rocket propulsion. If it was, it would destroy the surface it was leaving (as well as the ship). The rest are all types that help a rocket to lift up from the ground and make its way through the atmosphere.


These were used for executions throughout history, and are now used on spacecraft. What are they?

Guillotines have a much different use upon spacecrafts than they did before. They are instead used to cut different materials that are needed. There are no scissors in space!


What low energy rocket science technique can be used to set an object into a different orbit?

A bi-elliptical transfer is a method of putting an object on another path of orbit. What is nice about this is that it requires less energy to execute. There are many important things to know about when completing the transfer, such as the time it will take and the velocity.


After being thrust out of the Earth's atmosphere, how might an object make its way to its outer space destination?

A lot of rockets free fall during certain points in their journey to their destination. This doesn't take place until the rocket has successfully made it out of the Earth's atmosphere. Otherwise, that could be quite dangerous!


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!