Successful egg drop design methods include soft landing features such as parachutes, shock absorbers such as balloons, and counterbalance mechanisms. NASA has also created an egg drop design resembling the Mars Pathfinder landing gear.
Parachute and helicopter designs attach by string to a container holding the egg, slowing the egg's descent. Successful parachutes are often made from grocery bags, plastic or newspaper. Helicopter designs are more complex and use fabric, plastic or condenser paper built with a strong frame of wood or carbon fiber.
Some successful egg drop designs include shock absorbers, much like a car has air bags and springs. Balloons surrounding the egg container allow for soft landing. Eggs need padding such as cotton balls, cloth or yarn and a stable outside container to enclose the padding. Rubber bands and a frame are used as a suspension system, providing support and shock absorption.
Counterbalancing has shown to successfully protect the egg during a fall. Place an item heavier than the egg, such as a rock or weight, at the bottom of a long container. Be sure the well-padded egg is on the other end of the container.
The Mars Pathfinder employed both parachutes and balloons for a successful landing. Egg drop instructions by NASA indicate using newspaper parachutes connected to a cardboard frame with balloons to absorb the landing.