DIY Podcast: Sports Demo Audio Clips Transcript
International Space Station Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson discusses the science of sports in space. The following text is the transcript of Anderson's audio clips.

Clayton Anderson: 1-a. Hello, everybody. Welcome to the International Space Station. My name is Clayton Anderson and I'm the flight engineer No. 2. And you are right now on board with me in the Destiny lab module on board the ISS.

2-a. Sports have been very important to me for my entire life. I've always loved to play football, baseball, basketball -- any sport you can think of. And so, today we'd kind of like to talk to you kids a little bit about how sports can be different in space.

3-a. One of the things we have to talk about is Newton's laws. Anything in space -- if we leave it just where it is -- it will stay there unless it's acted upon by another force. So that football, theoretically, in zero g will stay there forever until somebody acts on it with a force, in which case it will move. And now as that football goes, it will continue to move that direction until we stop it or give it a force in another direction. So think about that if you were the field goal kicker on your football team. Then you could do this: You could tee up the football, and all by yourself, you could kick that field goal right there. It's good!

4-a. Another sport we have is baseball. Now, baseball, a lot of people know -- when you're a pitcher -- is based on the curvature of the ball and how it spins. And if a pitcher puts different spins on the ball, it will move in different directions to fool the batter. But in space it's not quite the same. This ball's spinning, but it's not doing anything. So a batter could come up with his baseball bat, and he could just smack it right out of the park.

5-a. Some of you may know that a knuckle ball is a pitch that's thrown by a pitcher that doesn't spin at all. When it doesn't spin and it goes through the airstream, it causes it to move in all different sorts of direction. And that's because of the reaction of the forces in the air and this funny non-spin of the ball. But, see, today I can throw a knuckle ball and it goes straight as an arrow. Didn't move a bit.

6-a. As you know, in basketball we want to throw the ball through the hoop. And in order to do that on the ground, we need gravity because as we toss the ball into space, gravity will pull it back down through the hoop. But in space it's a little bit of a different challenge. We have our basketball hoop in a different direction. See, the ball goes in a straight line and we want it to kind of arc down through the hoop. So we have to change our trajectory a little bit and see if we can bank-shot the ball into the hole. Oh, yeah, we got her.

7-a. If you ever wanted to be Air Jordan, you can sure be Air Jordan in zero g because you just fly through the air with the greatest of ease right toward the hoop for that big jam.

8-a. One other cool thing that you can do as a basketball player is you can automatically become a Harlem Globetrotter. With no effort I'm spinning the ball on my finger. It [microgravity] makes it very easy.

9-a. So, there you go, sports fans. Zero g is a sportsman's paradise. You just have to change the rules a little bit.

10-a. One of the concepts that we can illustrate is called the conservation of angular momentum. As I spin, when I'm bunched up in a ball, my spin is faster than when I start to stretch out my body. That's because we're curling everything around the center of mass, which causes us to rotate faster.

11-a. Sharpen up those pencils. Head to your physics class or your math class. And talk to your teachers about the concept of angular momentum and talk to your teachers about Newton's laws -- how they relate to you every day as you live on the Earth and how they relate to us while we live here in space.

>  Return to Sports Demo Main Page