Episode 24: Ming Dynasty Astronaut

Air Date: December 5, 2004

A 15th Century astrologer from China made it into space on a throne powered by 47 bamboo rockets.


The combined heat from all 47 bamboo rockets caused them to explode, nearly destroying the throne and doing significant damage to the stand-in astrologer (Buster) before it ever got off the ground. A throne powered by 47 modern rockets shot violently to one side, due to uneven firing, but would not have had the thrust to lift the chair very far at all, let alone all the way into space.

A free energy device can be made to harness enough energy to power a house.


Free energy itself is a scientific fantasy. Almost all of the free energy devices the MythBusters built consumed more energy than they produced and the one ‘successful’ device only produced enough electricity to power half a wrist watch, and was ridiculously large for such a small amount of energy. One test, cut for time and shown on "MythBusters Outtakes" involves coils of baling wire being used to siphon off electricity from nearby PG&E power lines in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

A regular house fan can cause decapitation.


Normal household fans do not have the power to even inflict serious injury while spinning at top speed – they are more likely to break first. An industrial fan is capable of inflicting a fatal injury, but is not powerful enough to take a head off. Even a purpose-built razor-sharp, stainless steel fan powered by a lawn mower engine could not completely sever a head from the neck.


  1. Ninja says:

    Not along with the myth of fans, but there is a video online of a man stopping the blades of a fan with his tongue.

  2. Rickett says:

    I am tall enough to have hit my head on many fans. I know my head is different than my neck, but the ceiling fans have never drawn blood, and I only got a slight bruise once.

  3. louis says:

    there is a video of a man catching a bullet with his teeth, (shown and busted in mythbusters)

    and house fans have got dull, soft blades(compared to the industrial fan)

  4. jamoecw says:

    i thought the mythbusters decided that the term free was applied to cost instead of perpetual motion?

    • Iosif says:

      Well you are correct that perutepal motion does not exist, and never will unless we find a way of altering basic physics which will never happen in this universe.I can almost see what you would like to do, but it really will only be a waste of time and money.I will say on a slightly positive note that if you live in an area with lots and I mean LOTS of continuous wind, then the idea of a wind powered generator, may be viable but unlikely.If you wish to put in more than you receive, then go ahead and play.It is the failures in life which often times lead to the greatest success, through a gaining of knowledge.Good Luck!

  5. Franky says:

    Ninga, those videos could have been fakes, e.g., an electric motor that was using low current, or the fan could have been turned off just before the man put his tongue into the spinning blades.

    • Jorbs3210 says:

      The video of a man stopping a fan with his tongue is real. Ripley’s featured it. Catching a bullet in your teeth has always been a magic trick, but a very dangerous one at that.

  6. wayne says:

    some years ago while removing my shirt i stuck my hand into a ceiling fan and slit my wrist resulting in severed tendons. it didn’t take my hand completely off. i think this is because i hit the outside tip of the blades as opposed to getting between them. if the blades were moving slow enough to get between them they wouldn’t really do any damage

  7. Tod Thompson says:

    About “Free Fuel”-There is an engine called a Paulson (SP?) engine that runs off of differences in temperature. Once started they will run prepetually even in -0’F as long as there is some temp. differences, the greater the diff. in temp, the more load the engine will pull. So, “Free Energy” is there, but lack of common knowledge and the initial expense deter most folks. Interestingly enough, I could find little to no help from the internet for more information. Perhaps I misunderstood the name of the engine or if you personally (any of you) might have more info.

  8. Tod Thompson says:

    Also about “free power” the one thing that will always work is the one you cut for time. You can run regular #12 electrical wire paralell (and very close) to high tension lines and no more than about 50 ft.
    would power your house by the process of induction-There is no way for them to detect a paralell line because you are simply catching the excess juice and harnessing it.BUT- one of 2 things will happen before you get your free power hooked up- 1.-YYOU WILL BE ARRESTED FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITIES for messing with the power grid or you will cook yourself messing with the high-tension wires. So -choose wisely, grasshopper.

  9. larry says:

    iam 6ft9, house fans hurt but not even enough to cause bloody nose, yea been there.

  10. Richard says:

    Tesla build a genator that produced free enery but it never got put into production. Take the time to look up facts before doing a show next time.

  11. Craig says:

    Rocket chair.
    I would like to see it redone with 2 modifications to make it fly straight.
    A. use a guide pole similar to model rockets.
    B. use some kind of ‘tail / fletch’ to keep it
    straight. I was thinking about a weight on a
    cable. Using a formula something like 1/10 the
    weight of the chair on 10′ of cable or 1/20 the
    weight of the chair on 20′ of cable. Idealy the
    guide pole would be longer than the cable so that
    the weight was engaged before leaving the guide pole.

  12. max says:

    My cousin’s cousin (2 and 1/2 year old baby back then ) stuck her finger in the fan and it was sliced off (top 3rd )… it was an old style house fan with metal blades (and those metal grills) – not a ceiling fan…
    (finger was successfully reattached).

  13. Paul says:


    It’s called a Stirling engine, and it still requires a heat source. since heat is energy, it’snot “free”


  14. Future7 says:

    Free Energy.
    Might want to actually build from the instructions before building, not just make some crap that has nothing to do with the device and say oh no it doesn’t work! Go learn before building next time! The Bendini Device.
    yeah try out Thomas Henry Moray’s device then. 50kw energy device.
    Try Tesla’s energy Device then!
    Alexander chernetski Vacuum energy device! :P
    and many more proper working devices.

    Try do something properly before putting a video on air, that makes you look silly to the well educated people.

    People have been killed making free energy devices. maybe myth busters not allowed to tell the truth. or maybe they are such noobs.

    • MSpears says:

      Or maybe none of those devices worked either. There’s always more material that can’t be fit into the episode due to time, and ends up on the cutting room floor.

      As for the Bendini Device… it wasn’t even demonstrated until 2008. This episode was made in 2004. So unless the Mythbusters have also secretly developed a working time travel machine, they COULDN’T have tested it.

  15. Steve Muturi says:

    I once had the misfortune of raising my arm in a club right into a spinning ceiling fan with metal blades, and was rewarded with several cuts on my hand and fingers. Fortunately, I was able to continue with the emcee job I was doing and no one noticed a thing!

Leave a Reply