[ASC-media] Media release: moon diving and other curious sports

JCA Media jcamedia at starclass.com.au
Tue Aug 17 09:51:58 EST 2004


August 17, 2004


Australians athletes will one day represent their country in sports such as Moon Diving, gymnastics on Pluto and Martian Dry Ice Skiing - in the imaginations of the young prizewinners of the nation's first space sports competition.

Contestants were asked to invent a future sport than can be played in space, on another planet or in zero gravity, in a nationwide competition organized for National Science Week by CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF).

The three competition winners are:
"	Martian Dry Ice Skiing, devised by Hsu-Lynn Lee of Telopea Park School in the ACT, in the senior secondary category 
"	Moon Diving, invented by Nichola Farnan and Aliki George, also of Telopea Park School, in the junior secondary category
"	Pluto gymnastics, described by Jesse Webb-Smith of Geraldton Grammar School, WA in the primary category.

Sport in Space links two areas of outstanding Australian achievement - astronomy and sport, says organizer Robert Hollow of the ATNF.

"We invited student throughout Australia to combine these national talents - and dream up a future sport that can be played in space, on a body or under zero gravity conditions," Mr Hollow said.

"The challenged to primary and secondary students was to write a story about what it's like to play a sport on another planet, a moon, an asteroid or even in deep space, based on their research into the kind of conditions you'd expect to find there."

Because Mars is colder than the earth, has no water, no breathable air and a lower gravity, ski competitors would need very special equipment, says Hsu-Lynn Lee. Skis would be black in colour to generate heat, shorter and thinner than on earth, and ride across frozen carbon dioxide - which poses a challenge because it does not turn to liquid like frozen snow beneath skis. Competitors would need special aerodynamic suits and ski-lubricants, pit stops for extra oxygen, and longer, steeper slopes to compensate for the low gravity.
Small moon craters would become diving arenas, in the imagination of Nichola Farnan and Aliki George. The crater would be marked out like a giant target and divers would receive points based on where they landed as well as their acrobatics on the way down. The low gravity means divers have more time to perform aerial sequences.

The low gravity of the outermost planet, tiny Pluto, offers the perfect setting for am amazing gymnastic routine, according to Jesse Webb-Smith. The only drawback is the lack of spectators on this remote world.

Among other intergalactic entries were:
"	Vertigo, a game played on the walls of the Vallis Marineris of Mars, devised by Chi Kit So of Telopea Park School, ACT.
"	The Olympic Games 2040 by Daniel Bochenek of St Leonards Primary School, Tasmania
"	Golf on Mars (involving a lot of lost balls), by Michelle Vito-Schaake of Woodcroft Primary School, SA
"	Bubblebash (a Martian sport) by Samantha Bobba and Deborah Mak of Lyneham High School, ACT
"	Asteroid Ball (played in a space shuttle), by Luke Foulds and Benjamin Bulluss of Lyneham High School, ACT
"	Lunar Baseball by Vesal Akbari-Yazdi and Rainis Tebecis, of Telopea Park School, ACT.

The winners of the competition win an overnight visit to the Parkes radio telescope in the central west of NSW during National Science Week. They will tour "the Dish", meet astronomers and have a chance to experience life at a working observatory and icon of Australian science.

More information about the competition and its results:
Rob Hollow, CSIRO ATNF, 02 9372 4247 or 0412 890 472 or 02 6861 1700
Robert.Hollow at csiro.au


For more information about Science Week:
Telephone: 02 6205 0281
Mobile: 0407 781 891
Facsimile: 02 6207 0072
E-mail:scienceweek at orac.net.au

For other events in National Science Week 2004, please visit:
Website: http://www.scienceweek.info.au/

National Science Week is supported by the Commonwealth Government Department of Education Science and Training (DEST) and the Department of Industry Tourism and Resources (DITR).

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