Elon Musk has released video via his Twitter and Instagram accounts that shows how hard it is to land a rocket. The video includes previously-unreleased footage showing some of the failed attempts at landing the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket (a feat that they did finally accomplish in December of 2015). Did I mention it has a Monty Python soundtrack?
If your kids think they are ready to give up on something, try showing them this video. Yes, it really is rocket science. Yes, it does require a lot of work to get it right. And, yes, there have been some failures. The important thing is that the engineers kept learning and trying again. Now they do something that other aerospace companies thought was impossible–and may bring down the cost of space travel by 50% or more!
(Note: the drone ships used for the at-sea landings are named Just Read the Instructions and Of Course I Still Love You. That helps with some of the jokes in the video.)
Check out the SpaceX website for more on The Why and How of Landing Rockets.