Johnson Space Center, Houston
Melissa Mathews/Grey Hautaluoma
Feb. 10, 2006
NASA and Olympic Athletes Plan Lunar Games
With the help of several Olympic athletes, students can get a physics lesson from NASA about potential winter sports on the most extreme venue around -- the moon.
U.S. Olympic skier Eric Bergoust, snowboarder Hannah Teter, bobsled team member Todd Hays and U.S. Snowboard team member Kier Dillon are featured in 30-to-60-second NASA TV clips that explore the scientific concepts of their winning flips and rips.
The educational segments are available for public use. They air on NASA TV starting today. To view or download the segments from the Web, visit:
Bergoust explores whether he could double his quadruple-twisting flip with a perfect landing in the moon's one-sixth gravity. Teter shows how her skills to hit a front side five might be used to land a lunar spacecraft. Hays uses rocket launches to jump start his bobsled, and Dillon investigates the differences between riding lunar and Earth slopes.
"U.S. Olympic athletes are helping to educate our youth by comparing the physics of sports with the physics of space exploration," said Phil West, NASA's Johnson Space Center acting director of education. "We hope parents and teachers will use the clips to interest teens in math and science, because America will need them to become tomorrow's inventors."
With mountains rivaling the Rockies, lower gravity and dust that looks like snow, the moon has potential. Today's athletes aren't the first to notice. When Apollo 17 geologist Harrison "Jack" Schmitt landed on the moon in 1972, moving around reminded him of skiing.
"I think downhill techniques would work very well on the moon," Schmitt said. "You even have built-in moguls, the impact craters on the slopes. Lunar gravity would allow all kinds of jumps and hops that you might find difficult on Earth."
For educational stories about potential extraterrestrial winter sports on the Web, visit:
For resources to help teachers in grades 9-12 use the videos in their classes, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
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