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Aerodynamics and Baseball
10.28.10
 
Soichi Noguchi, Eileen Collins y Charlie Camarda animan el lanzaimiento de la bola

On the diamond in New York’s Shea Stadium, from left, astronauts Soichi Noguchi, Eileen Collins and Charlie Camarda toss out the first pitch. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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What makes a curve ball curve? What determines how far a batted ball will travel? How do weather conditions change the flight of a baseball? How does location determine if a field is a "hitter’s" or a "pitcher’s" park?

While NASA is known for rocket science and airplanes, the agency likes to solve more down-to-earth problems too. Many NASA researchers are big fans of baseball. They have taken computer applications designed to study and teach the aerodynamics of airplanes and rockets and applied the equations to the sport. Factor in the location and the weather, and you have the perfect tools to have fun learning about America’s favorite pastime!

Aerodynamics is the study of forces and the resulting motion of objects as they fly through the air. Judging from the story of Daedalus and Icarus, humans have been interested in aerodynamics and flying for thousands of years. But flying in a heavier-than-air machine has been possible only in the last hundred years, thanks to the Wright brothers. Aerodynamics affects the motion of every object that moves through the air, including kites and jet engines. Aerodynamics plays a major role in many sports, like golf, football, ski-jumping and automobile racing.

 
 

Article was adapted from http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/baseball/index.html.