Space Sports

Space Sports

This episode is sponsored by Curiosity Stream The first sport ever played in space was golf, what comes next? So today’s topic, Space Sports and sports
in the future, has been one requested over and over again for years now and it seemed
past time to cover it. We’ll mostly be looking at sports in low
or no gravity, but we’ll spend a bit of time considering how future technology might
impact sports, both in altering how they are played and inventing new games. To look at the future of sports it helps to
look at the past and how that’s birthed our games, to give an insight into what might
shape those in the future. One thing that sticks out right away is that
many games serve to hone combat and survival skills or serve as a type of proxy for them
and our competitive drives. This is rather overt with something like archery
or fencing or martial arts or board games like chess, and less obvious with things like
marathons or decathlons. Another key point is that they often arise
out of a work environment, for our very distant ancestors sports that arose from hunting would
be an example, but contests like log tossing or sailing or rowing or weightlifting or even
bricklaying are examples of work becoming a sport. One might imagine that in space, something
like competitive EVA races to get suited up, outside into the vacuum, and finding and welding
shut air leaks would be a job from which a sport might arise. It’s very easy to imagine zero-g gymnastics
and low-grav aerobatics becoming popular, not just because it offers new levels to these
sports, but because the ability to maneuver in lower gravity is so important a skill to
master if you’re living and working there. A third point is that a lot of games have
arisen around what was available, we have a desire to play around, and will typically
do that with whatever is on hand, even if it involves a lot of improvising. As an example of that, I mentioned in the
intro that the first space sport was golf, when Alan Shepard used a makeshift six-iron
by combining a rock-collector’s shaft with a six-iron head he’d brought on board with
a couple golf balls. Later during Apollo 16 they did some rover
racing, the first Lunar Grand Prix. We don’t need much reason to want to play
sports and games in space, but we’ve good motivations for it too. Exercise is good for us, and very important
to maintaining our health in low gravity. Sports are also better at maintaining mental
health than just mindlessly running on a treadmill. We’re not hamsters, so especially when using
a machine like a treadmill or stationary bike, we usually like to have some music or something
to watch to help with the monotony, but sports are generally even better and even on the
cramped confines of the International Space Station we’ve seen a lot of experimentation
by the crews with playing this or that sport. Maintaining and improving body and mind is
not only easier when it’s fun but usually more effective too, which is why even with
non-physical skills like logic or reasoning or reading we often introduce a game format
for instruction, like a crossword or interactive puzzle, and why we try to make our episodes
fun, not simply lectures, and it’s not even vaguely coincidental that virtually every
sponsor of this educational channel is focused on improving knowledge and skills in fun and
interesting ways. There may come a time when keeping the body
in shape doesn’t require exercise, and that’s something to think about, a time when you
can just step into the Muscletron 3000 and step out looking like a Greek God, but training
and practice would presumably still be necessary for both mind and muscle memory, though of
course we can’t rule out one day being able to augment the mind or even upload skills
complete with all those reflexes. Such augmentations, mental and physical, might
really mess up professional sports in the future and of course are already a constant
concern, be it doping or gear which grants an unfair advantage, for a given and debatable
definition of the term ‘unfair’. Cybernetic or genetic enhancement might wreck
a lot of professional games but I honestly rather doubt it, we regulate or adapt as needed,
and ultimately that’s up to what the audiences find acceptable anyway. Fair matters for amateur team sports too of
course, whether or not it’s okay to use a wooden bat or aluminum or maybe a few decades
from now a pair of goggles that track the ball in flight and let you know where to swing
or run to for a catch. And along with looking at low gravity, zero
gravity, and unearthly environments, things like that are of interest to us in discussing
future sports today, along with looking at what might alter modern sports. Of course, one has to define what a sport
is. I remember seeing a game of chess once on
ESPN and being a bit surprised that was on a sports network and my own personal definition
was always that it’s not a sport if you don’t get sweaty and tired playing it. Of course there are plenty of games everyone
calls sports like NASCAR that are more about reflexes and endurance than physical exertion,
and many sports involve a large measure of physical and mental exertion and practiced
reflexes, any one of which can be tiring or make you sweaty, plus I suspect most folks
who play water sports would argue that being sweat-drenched is hardly relevant anyway. I suspect most folks in this audience could
corroborate me when I say mental activity can be quite exhausting too. Usually when I’m done with a script for
the show, which is typically a single sit down writing marathon, I emerge a bit drained
and tired and hungry and wondering why the clock reads several hours later. To get into low gravity sports, we should
probably puncture the mistaken impression many have that working in lower or no gravity
is easier. Obviously in some ways it is, but there’s
weight and then there’s mass, and while exerting force against something’s gravitational
pull is obviously hard, it still has its own inertial mass even in the middle of empty
space. Even ignoring that wearing a spacesuit is
very tiring, moving around in low or no gravity is hardly a freebie. Throwing a ball has very little to do with
fighting gravity, even if it has a big effect on its trajectory. That’s probably the first thing most folks
think about with low gravity, playing baseball or golf on the Moon or Mars is going to result
in a much longer flight for the same speed, and a golf ball or baseball or bullet on a
place with half of Earth’s gravity is going to stick in the air twice as long. Earth’s gravity is 2.6 times stronger than
Mars, and 6 times stronger than the Moon, so a projectile will stay up 2.6 and 6 times
as long respectively and cover correspondingly more distance. If you’re playing someplace where the gravity
is twice as strong, expect it to fall down twice as fast and cover half the distance. Obviously this all ignores air resistance
and lift, but we’ll get to that in a bit. This means your baseball outfield needs to
be proportionally bigger or smaller, but maybe not entirely proportionally, since your outfielders
have to try to catch that ball or grab it after its hit and throw it back, and a larger
or smaller field to account for gravity isn’t changing their running time much. Of course they can jump a lot higher to catch
it too, and games like volleyball or long jump or high jump are changed. Even track and field hurdles not only need
to be higher but spaced farther apart, as you’ll cover more distance even when jumping
the same height of barrier before you can land and start running again. That also means in game like billiards or
snooker you probably need a glass plate over the balls or some thick liquid it all bounces
around in so they don’t fly off the table constantly. It totally wrecks American Football too, as
unless you make the field much longer, which would really wreck the normal ground game,
even a fairly weak kicker is going to be able to nail a field goal from his own endzone,
at least for distance, and almost any fourth down that would end with a punt is going to
be a try for a field goal instead. For that matter, when tackles turn into dogpiles
in low gravity they might end up floating in a tangle of bouncing bodies, so the game
might need major overhaul. That’s not the first time that’s happened
either, around a century ago the sheer number of injuries and deaths in American Football,
which was a particularly vicious style of rugby, resulted in President Teddy Roosevelt
advocating for new rules to allow forward passing and that had some obvious direct and
secondary results on changing gameplay. I pick that example because some of these
games wouldn’t seem able to survive the effect of way different gravity without being
so changed it wouldn’t seem like the same game anymore, but American Football, which
involves a foot hitting a ball pretty rarely, basically only to begin and end which team’s
turn it is, is an example of dubious names and divergent sports. Of course dubious names are probably going
to be common enough in space anyway, as folks are likely to still refer to the air as being
part of their ‘atmosphere’ even though inside a dome or a rotating cylinder habitat,
there’s obviously no sphere of air involved. Speaking of air, that can have a big effect
on games too, and not every game in space is going to be played in air, and in many
sports, carrying around your air supply is likely to be a big deal. Hiking or climbing up a mountain on Mars is
way easier than on Earth, except on Earth you don’t have to carry your air with you
and air is actually fairly heavy as our tanks will need to be sturdy enough to hold the
stuff compressed and not be easily punctured either. That might make an amusing modification to
dueling games too. We don’t dual much anymore, and certainly
not to the death, but even when we did, we usually only went to first blood, and I could
imagine that returning as our medical technology improves so that there was very little risk
of permanent harm in a knife or sword fight, but I could imagine fights in space going
not to first blood but to first leak, a puncture to someone else’s suit. That’s a little more probable to me because
I can imagine that contests to patch a leak would be one of those new sports we’d see
develop anyway. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of sports derive
from survival skills and in space or hostile planets, the ability to keep your suit unpunctured
or seal leaks to it or other objects is likely to be a major survival skill. You could get some sports very unique to specific
planets or moons too. On Earth, depending on your latitude, the
day-night terminator comes over very quickly and in a blur from the air, you never really
see a line of day and night pass over you, but on places like the moon, with no air to
blur light and a day a month long, even on the equator where it’s fastest the terminator
only moves 4.6 meters per second or 10 miles per hour, meaning you could sprint ahead of
it for a while. On places like Mercury, where it’s even
longer, you could walk at a light stroll ahead of it and even set up camp. Of course if it caught you, you’d burn up,
but one might imagine folks out surveying the place in rovers with gear might make contests
out of staying barely ahead of the boiling day or freezing night and setting up camp
shelters or digging down in the ground. You might do that on Venus too, which has
a very long day as well, but the surface is a boiling hot high-pressure death trap buried
far beneath a thick and poisonous atmosphere, though at higher levels you might go hang-gliding
around and I suspect hang-gliding would be a popular sport there. Of course if space suits, or Venus Suits,
were good enough, really high tech about pressure and heat, you might have folks who made a
business and eventually a sport of flying down to that deadly surface. Suicidal drops are already a popular sport
here, be it bungee jumping and skydiving to cliff diving, a sport which presumably only
has the ranks of ‘grandmaster’ or ‘stuff on a rock’. Diving off orbital rings onto Earth is certainly
plausible, and suits able to handle re-entry and high-pressure might result in folks not
only diving down from orbit into the sea, but aiming to drop all the way down to the
bottom of an ocean trench and back up again. Felix Baumgartner’s world-record skydive
was as high in altitude as many orbital ring systems would be. It’s not just Earth, though, folks could
dive from orbit into gas giants and aiming to land on platforms deeper in the atmosphere. Considering that emergency and search and
rescue crews for gas refining facilities on those gas giants might actually have to be
trained to do something like that, I could well imagine it becoming a major sport. Now it should be noted that just because gravity
is lower or zero in places doesn’t mean they’ll have to adapt their sports to that. We know how to make artificial gravity by
rotation and are likely to employ that in human habitations any place where there isn’t
already decent gravity. Not all sections of space habitats might be
under spin-gravity or full Earth levels even if it were, but the gym would tend to be the
place you’d most want that, especially for maintaining a typical human physique. It sounds awesome to be able to lift a few
thousands kilos over your head in low gravity but weight lifting competitions in low or
no gravity are likely to be about speed of repetitions as much as mass being moved, how
quickly you can deadlift a weight, fighting it’s inertial mass, not the sheer mass you
can get over your head eventually since that becomes as meaningless as doing a handstand
on Earth and saying you’re Atlas, able to lift up the world. But on planets where the gravity is rather
low, we do have the option of merging spin gravity with normal gravity though that requires
you spin a rather large and deep bowl shape. Of course that happens to be what a good arena
or stadium looks like anyway and odds are any interplanetary sports league is likely
to have an agreed upon gravity and air composition used for the sports. I suspect that would be Earth Standard gravity
too, except for games developed uniquely for low gravity or microgravity, rather than adapted. Now you could get some interesting version
of existing games too. In soccer or basketball, for instance, it’s
about aiming a ball for a specific target more than a sheer range, same for darts, and
other than adapting around a longer parabolic curve you’re not really changing things
much, indeed for stuff like darts or archery the flight time to target is sufficiently
short that much of your lift and drop is from air as much as gravity. It won’t fly the same in zero gravity but
it’s not the same huge game-changer it would be in something like baseball. One interesting variation we might see is
folks on very low gravity asteroids or small moons, which make up 99% of the objects kicking
around the solar system, setting the ‘target’ as launching an item at just the right speed
to orbit the body, not too fast, not to slow, and “orbit-ball” might score points by
how many times the ball went around the object before crashing into the ground or spiraling
out to escape. Some games like racquetball might adapt to
zero gravity by using a pressurized sphere you bounced the ball around, kind of like
how Bashir and O’Brien did in Deep Space 9, and you might wear finned or winged suits
to help you maneuver around. For that matter we don’t normally think
of catching a ball or throwing it as moving us, as we tend to be planted on the ground
rather firmly, but even if you’re not in a vacuum so your experience air drag, you’ll
notice how you absorb or counter momentum of anything you catch a lot more and can use
that for bouncing around off walls to change your position. There’s some really great descriptions of
maneuvering for games in zero gravity in Orson’s Scott Card’s classic scifi novel “Ender’s
Game”, which is well worth a read. Keeping inertia and momentum in mind, games
with heavier balls and no gravity like zero-g dodgeball might turn into something where
the objective wasn’t to get the ball in some goal but to get your opponent or yourself
into one, by bouncing or throwing balls to exchange momentum. You might get some very coordinated passing
between teams to achieve such goals. I could envision folks playing darts in inflated
spacesuits trying to puncture bubbles or segments on it to shove their opponent around, as that’s
decent training for trying to deal with a spacesuit leak in EVA. You jump from one airlock to another while
everyone tries to pop your balloons and knock you off course, and you try to steer to the
goal with those leaks providing thrust. Also considering that most of the solar system’s
bodies are covered in ice, and low on gravity, you might get some very interesting versions
of ice skating or skiing too, especially considering the kind of maneuvers you can pull off when
you’re on some icy rock whose escape velocity might not be much higher than how fast you
can jump. I could well imagine a Winter Olympics sports
where we melted a curved path up and down all the way around the equator of a body and
folks aimed to circumnavigate on skis or skates as fast as they could and could use their
air supply for additional thrust to speed up. Gases escaping from a suit can be used for
thrust and while it’s a little low brow, us being humans, I would not even be a little
surprised if a normal zero-g pub game was for contests to see who could belch across
the room fastest. And given that belching is not the only way
for humans to generate propulsive gases I’d imagine we’d have a parallel contest where
folks were eating all the beans they could stomach beforehand too. I’d imagine neither version would be something
you’d invite a date along for, unless you were planning to break up. Something you might bring a partner along
for is dancing though, and given all the awesome options available for moves in low gravity,
I imagine this would be popular, and you might get some very interesting costumes for that
too, as we already often tailor dresses or skirts with whirling around in mind, and I
suspect folks would cheerfully deck themselves out with wings and feathers if they were in
a low enough gravity environment that they could use those to alter their motion a lot. Of course a date isn’t the only partner
you might have. Our furry friends shall surely accompany us
off our home world to every rock we settle or habitat we assemble, and they need exercise
too, and playing Frisbee with your dog in low gravity is bound to be rather amusing. Keeping in mind all those icy bodies, I can
also imagine dog sledding being popular, either under pressurized domes or with spacesuits
for dogs. While sleds would presumably be powered by
motors not canines, there are plenty of motorsports too, and if you’re using an electric motor
you can use rovers, motorbikes, dunebuggies, and so on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fictional
portrayal of somebody riding a dirt bike on Mars or the Moon, but a well-made spacesuit
might be no more encumbering than the normal protective gear for dirt bikes and you could
get away with riding one around in the vacuum over all those mile-high crater walls and
down those massive canyons and lavatubes. Maybe add a bit of rocketry in there or even
some wings for partial-pressure environments like an early-phase terraformed Mars, our
topic for next week, but you could pull off some bike jumps on those worlds that would
terrify Evel Knievel. Something you could also be doing with skates,
skateboards, skis, or even your own two feet in some places. Pedal-powered aircraft might become a popular
adaptation to both flying and bicycling on many places too, under a pressurized dome
of course. Needless to say spaceship races might be popular,
seeing who could slingshot closest and fastest to a planet, we see something like that in
“The Expanse”, and solar sails and sun diving might get very popular too. Spaceships always having to worry about debris,
either dodging it or vaporizing it, and while you’d expect that to be automated I’d
imagine there’d be a lot of manual training to do that as a backup, and as we said, survival
skills make for good sports, so trying to shoot down debris manually or work through
obstacle courses might be popular too. We might also see stuff like asteroid hopping
or scavenger hunts, arising out of asteroid mining cultures. Besides outer space we also have cyberspace,
and while we don’t think of video games as sports normally, they can be turned into
them easily enough and also many do already focus on reflexes which we’ve already noted
was a major or dominant aspect of many traditional sports anyway. That also offers all sorts of cool options
like racing your dragon around a virtual world, but of course with genetic engineering and
cybernetics, you might easily be able to have dragons on low gravity worlds, or be one yourself. So many options, for continuing or adapting
existing sports or making entirely new ones, so that I’m pretty sure we’ll never get
bored or run out of sports to play or watch in the future. It does bring up that competitive drive to
excel though which for professional sports often leads to some fairly extreme efforts,
which I imagine will only be amplified by options like genetic engineering, cybernetics,
and neural and cognitive enhancement. There’s a great documentary on that topic
and things like psycho-cognitive training for athletes called “Quest for the Perfect
Athlete” that you can watch on Curiosity Stream. One of many excellent documentaries you can
watch there on all sorts of fascinating topics. Curiosity Stream is a subscription streaming
service that offers over 2400 documentaries and nonfiction titles from some of the world’s
best filmmakers, including exclusive originals, and from some our top thinkers, like Stephen
Hawking and Michio Kaku. You can get unlimited access starting at just
$2.99 a month, and for our audience, the first 30-days are completely free if you sign up
at during the sign-up process. As I mentioned, next week we’ll be visiting
Mars again and we’ll be looking at how we can go about terraforming as close to Earth
conditions as we can and what our options would be, from the restrained to the extravagant,
from the low-tech to the very high-tech, as we take that lifeless red ball and try to
turn it green, in Springtime on Mars. The week after that we’ll celebrate SFIA’s
5th Anniversary by returning one of our favorite Topics, the Fermi Paradox, in “Fermi Paradox:
Extinction”. For alerts when those and other episodes come
out, make sure to subscribe to the channel, and if you’d like to support the channel,
visit our website to donate or look at some of the SFIA merchandise you can get. Until next time, thanks for watching, and
have a great week!

100 Replies to “Space Sports”

  1. I think 3D billiards with no table and just holes in the walls could be fun (in zero gravity). Obstacle courses are fun in any gravity. You could probably do some neat watersports in zero gravity where the "pool" is just a large sphere of water that is kept in the middle of the room with air currents.

  2. I have a deep distrust of people who feel the need for competitive activities. I sense that they are comoensating for somthing.

  3. Tbey call nust about everything a sport these days. Like figure skating for instancd. It's really more like dancing but that is now a sport too. If you're a comoetative minded person you could think of everyrhing as a sport.

  4. Atlas.

    I already corrected you once on this, but I guess my comments are drowned by the masses.
    He held the sky, or more precisely, this celestial sphere that holds the constellations and shit.

  5. Coriolis effect on a pass or punt in a rotating habitat would give a neat parabolic trajectory. I thought for sure you'd mention "the expanse" slingshot daredevil whipping around jupiter in a space versión of a crotch rocket lol

    Thanks much for the great work. Looking forward to more megastructure eps, engineering and giant mechanics is everyone's favorite subjects methinks 😘

  6. From playing Eve online, i gotta say the most fun "game" i had was the interstellar rally. Covering dozens of systems, you had to fine tune your ship for multiple variables – time for realigning to the next jump, speed both in hyperspace and real space. Weapons to discourage the more aggressive competitors, and shield enhancement as the entire route was not exactly friendly and dipped down to the more hostile regions. But then again i also like actually rally racing.

  7. Isaac Arthur should create new channel where he can reupload videos that are enchanced with deep fake AI to fix his speech impediment

  8. Circuit racing through asteroid fields or something similar seems to be the most obvious to me. The inherent danger to such an activity would make it an extreme sport.

  9. Great video Isaac. Can't wait for cricket on one of those big floating platforms on Venus. Only problem is if you hit a 6, bye-bye ball… By the way, the music I've been composing for an episode of yours is going well. Want me to forward what I've got so far so you can have a listen and make suggestions? Email me. I'm a Patreon supporter, Marcus N-H. Shouldn't be more than one of those. (or reply to this if you have a preferred alternative method.)

  10. Red Bull Air Racing on other planets flying through scifi towers riding single seat space ships. Why am i so excited lol :)))))

  11. street fighter 5 has been on ESPN a few times… speaking of which, did you see the VR fighting game gay genderbender sex episode of Black Mirror?

  12. Great it is Friday evening in Australia and Arthur will have been beavering away making something interesting. The rest of the nation only cares about football, so a big thank you. I was always curious why we did not have a drug assisted underground version of sport. Get the biggest drug assisted boost you can without dropping dead. I wonder how many standard deviations from the mean your audience is on a variety of variables? I suspect most are well past three standard deviations from the mean on many variables, or maybe I am just judging your other fans to be as outlying as I am. Cheers from Melbourne Australia Arthur.

  13. it would be great, motorracing against the turning direction in a rotating habitat, trying to overcome the spin gravity. I can imagine all kinds of cool sports making use of the special forces in these habitats

  14. When I think of new sports I think geocaching and FPV drone racing. Every time I go past a dying mall I think "That would make a great drone sports arena."

  15. Nice that you have a clip of people playing the board game Terraforming Mars at as it fits perfectly with this channels main thrust.

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed this video! That's hardly surprising; I tend to enjoy IA videos. I didn't subscribe just to be nice.

    A few I've thought up over the years:
    tag on a Lunar jungle gym
    a weightless gymnastics even like the uneven bars, except there are three bars, each along a different axis.
    A spiral track in an O'Neill habitat: start in full G at ground level and get lighter the further up the spiral you go. At the center you weigh nothing. Footrace up, skiing down, or a lacrosse game if it's wide enough.
    Yes, Lunar high jump, long jump, or pole vaulting would involve great heights, but the basic nature of the sport isn't changed just by adding "X 6!"
    But synchronized swimming would be. Swimmers throwing themselves three body lengths out of the water, and falling back into the water in slow motion, makes it a very different sport than on Earth.

    Ah, if I had Isaac's talent I'd have a whole YouTube channel devoted to this. Maybe someday I can team up with somebody and we can have a channel half as good. That would be something to take pride in.

  17. As someone who has shot archery for over 50 years I would love to try in low/zero G. Also as someone who has a couple thousand skydives I would love to try orbit diving or on a low grav planet some wing suit flying.

  18. one sport that would at least be a kids game is running or riding a bike in the opposite direction of spin gravity to reach a fast enough speed for flight or in the same direction to see how fast you can go with increasing G forces.

  19. First Flight by Chris Claremont: cadets pull themselves through a climbing frame course in zero g against the clock. There's also a masterclass in hand to hand space suit combat.
    Vacuum Surfing (spacewalk without a suit) crops up in several books sometimes with footnotes that the practice became an extreme sport, deep breaths & lots of sunblock.
    Aliens feeling particularly brave can Come Hunt An Earthman
    Strata (Terry Pratchett) briefly mentions thrill seekers backpacking on Mercury, the gravity being low enough I guess for you to carry a week or more of air with you.

  20. The coriolis effect would be a pretty major issue with sports under spin gravity, since it scales with the inverse of the spin radius, which creates a confounding variable for replicating specific conditions on other planets

  21. First golf course in an O'Neill Cylinder becomes known as "Royal Saint Arthur's".

    Kind and Respectful Regards, Isaac, Uyraell, NZ.

  22. There will be not much difference in billiard on the moon, unless you play like a hill-billy working with an axe. Why should there be? The major limit is the friction of rolling. Mass is the same, ceteris paribus rolling is just 6 times longer. It would be like playing/rolling e.g. on a glass plate instead of the green table.

  23. An obvious option is a sport like American football, rugby or Australian rules football being modified to take the lack of gravity into account. Soccer football would probably not be a good option simply because you have to kick the ball.

    We already have e-sports too which means you can simulate gravity in a zero-G environment.

    A major part of some movies is mind controlled robots/cyborgs, no personal physical damage and quick repairs.

  24. I recall a SciFi story where opposing teams in zero-G score points by shining a flashlight (one per team) on the opposing team's goal (a large photodetector). The flashlight can be passed, and players have mirrors on their hands and bodies to bounce the flashlight beam around blocking opponents or deflect an opponent's beam back. Player's move by pushing off walls and each other. The playing space is probably a "surface of revolution" (cylinder, sphere, ellipsoid). Since player to player collisions are likely and may even be intended, the game is probably as dangerous as rugby or ice hockey.

  25. I have been looking forward to seeing how Isaac Arthur wold incorporate Ender's game into one of these documentaries. It is a pretty good read, and this video reminded me of some of the aspects of that book.

  26. Gravity on Ceres is 0.029 g. Escape velocity is 0.51 km/s. 
    So you could achieve orbit with something like a big slingshot or crossbow as the catapult.

  27. Yeah I thought the tittle read "Space Ports" and I'm like Oh Yeah A MUST Watch!!! Then I realized the tittle is "Space Sports" and I'm like 😒 Shit!

  28. "Scholars believe asteroid shooting had its start in various eating establishments during 1980s earth. While there are no records of weaponized spacecraft in that era, there are numerous references to asteroid shooting and it appears to have been a popular sport."

  29. OK. Difference between a SPORT and a GAME. A sport is a physical challenge in which you compete against yourself, such as weight lifting, down hill skiing, throwing a discus or any activity in which your competitor can not interfere with your performance. A game is an activity in which your competitor can interfere with your performance such as football, baseball, fencing, chess, etc. So, in tennis for example, your ability to hit the ball over the net is your sports ability, but your ability to hit the ball into a position where your opponent cannot return your volley is a sport. In football, the ability to run, catch and throw the spheroid is sportage. The ability to tackle and intercept the ball is gameage, if such a word exists.

  30. Considering how incredibly costly it will be to transport ourselves and our habitats (or at least the tools to create them) to space colonies, whether surface or orbital, I really can't see pets like cats and dogs making it up there in the foreseeable future. It would be such a costly extravagance, almost directly endangering human lives or at least costing resources that would keep humans alive. I don't even see Elon Musk or Richard Branson allowing "tourist" cats and dogs into orbit – but we'll find out soon enough.
    Great topic, Isaac, as usual!

  31. I'd like to see a sort of zero gravity figure skating competition, where contestants performed acrobatic moves inside an orbital sphere.

  32. Soccer, rugby, and gridiron all get called "football" for the same reason: you play them on foot instead of on a horse. It has nothing to do with kicking in any of the cases, and the word "soccer" was created by the same folks as the sport for the sake of clarifying which football rules you were following.

  33. Here's how I would do a "space suit patching" sport:

    Each contestant is given a spacesuit, some tools, and a balloon. The balloon, made of the same material as the spacesuit, is a set diameter with an incision and a set amount of air within it, placed a set distance away from an orbital space station. At "GO!" the contestants race to put on their spacesuits, exit the spacecraft, fly out to the balloon, find the incision, and patch it up. The one who's balloon has the most air in it by the end wins the game.

  34. I've thought of two basic style zero-g sports.

    Torus-ball is played in a torus (preferably a mesh, for better air exchange) sized to allow players to keep themselves on the "floor" by either running or skating. The central "column" would be removed for both access and goals. The torus would be able to rotate around it's central axis, just for that extra complication. It would be a zero-g equivalent to hockey and to soccer as played on a small field.

    Fan-ball would be played in an empty cylinder, with round goals at the far ends, probably about the length and diameter of a gridiron field. Players would use leg power to rotate a fan, with a form-factor based on a unicycle. For headgear they would have an inner helmet, and an outer "crumple helm" that they could get a decent 360 degree from – for safety reasons, it would be quite bulbous. One version would be a gridiron derivative, with different players having different size fans and speed-governors, and the "quarter back" being the only player with a battery-powered but slow vectoring system instead of the normal leg-powered one. I expect that there would be a lacrosse derivative as well (probably "quarterback" units for everyone, to ease the use of the sticks), but I'm not familiar enough with the sport to speculate on details. Soccer strikes me as a difficult sport to translate to this big empty cylinder, though you could probably figure something out if you tried hard enough.

    I can imagine baseball being played inside a large sphere, with the pitcher strapped down to the "mound" at one of the poles, and the bases being along a plane centered at the center of the sphere, and about 45 degrees off-center: home and 2nd base would be on the "equator", but 1st and 3d would be 45 degrees into opposing hemispheres. The game sphere would intentionally spin fast enough to generate some coriolis forces or the like.

  35. Can't see getting a spacesuit on becoming much of a sport, any more than getting a fire-suit or diving suit on it. Too much risk.

  36. Ha! I’ve been eyeing this video since it came out and this whole time I thought the subject was Space Ports, as in a docking station only to click on a video and be completely confused. LoL

  37. Sports of the future is such a non-topic. Ofcourse there will always be people who add a competitive element to things. One modern example is competitive drone flying. It doesnt take long for something to go from a new invention – to a sport.

  38. In Steel Beach, they had knife fights that didn't end until you'd decapitated your opponent. Their medical technology was good enough to repair the bodies in a loseless and seamless way.

    I think it was The Gods Themselves, they had a game on the moon about which we heard nothing except that involved a hundred people, a zero-G cylinder, and was played in the nude. Captures the imagination.

  39. Mental exertion actually makes you feel more tired than physical exertion. This is because physical exertion simply exhaust you body making you want to sit down and relax because your body can recover by simply taking a breather. The mind however can only be recovered through sleep and thus with lots of Mental exertion you end up feeling really tired and wanting to sleep unlike after an lots of physical exertion where you may just want to sit back and enjoy a cool drink.

  40. "… staying ahead of the fiery day/night terminator as a sport …"
    Who else is thinking Chronicles of Riddick?
    Getting turned to ash is suddenly a bit less appealing.

  41. Some possible Space Sports:
    * Towed High-Atmospheric Skiing
    * High-Atmospheric Surfing with or without reentry
    * Bungee/Base jumping from a Space Elevator
    * Solar/Laser Light/Magnetic Sail Regattas
    * Zero-g 3D Paintball/Laser Tag (Ender's Game) in different rotational and polyhedral geometries
    * Zero-g Cylindrical Field Tennis/Badmington Volleyball/Basketball (two teams, two goals)
    * Zero-g Toroidal Field Tennis/Badmington Volleyball/Basketball (two teams, two goals)
    * Zero-g Polyhedral Field Handball/Lacrosse (4, 6, 8, 12, 20 teams and goals)
    * Archery/Javelin/Sling target shooting in Zero-g and rotating habitats
    * Zero-g 3D Maze races in different rotational and polyhedral geometries
    * Vehicle races on Moebius strip tracks
    * Orbital Rendezvous & Docking without Computers assistance

  42. Football derives its name from the fact that it is played on foot and not on horseback, such as Polo. European Football, aka soccer (short for association football) evolved from the same game that American football did. So the fact that European Football highly utilizes the foot kicking a ball is pretty much just coincidental.

  43. Get your mind out of the gutter Isaac, we all know what fans of "water sports" want to be drenched in.

  44. I think there would be awesome drone war sports, where the risk is eliminated and competitiveness and technological addantages would excel-ate a lot of what we see in the real world

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