Ghost Rockets - Video #34201

Ghost Rockets

Friday, October 30, 2020
As part of Spooktacular Science 2020, Penn State Altoona presents Ghost Rockets!

Have you ever vigorously shaken a soft drink bottle? Carbon dioxide is released and the pressure of the gas could possibly make the top pop off. An Alka-Seltzer tablet contains two chemicals that react in water to form carbon dioxide. If the film canister is closed up, the pressure of the gas increases, causing the lid to launch like a rocket.


  • Film canister with a snap-on lid (preferably clear or a mini M&M candy container with the lid detached, cut tab with scissors
  • Water and tsp measuring spoon
  • Alka-SeltzerĀ® tablets
  • We recommend this experiment be done OUTSIDE


  1. Fill the film canister with 1 tsp of water.
  2. Place a 1/2 piece of Alka-Seltzer tablet in the film canister.
  3. Use an adult helper.
  4. Quickly place the lid on the canister and place it upside down on the ground outside. (If the lid fits too tightly or too loosely, it won't work.)
  5. Stand back and watch.
  6. Experiment with the amount of water and the size of the tablet!