THE CHALLENGE: Space Recreation
Journey to Mars

There is a great deal of interest from national space agencies to go to the Moon and Mars. ESA wants to go to the Moon and establish a village there. NASA wants to go to Mars. Astronauts and Cosmonauts from all over the world are already living aboard the ISS. What can they do in their free time? It can’t be all about reading books or game play on computers. Think of new sports or games that could take into account the low gravity (e.g. a space lacrosse game, extreme basketball). What about real or virtual experiences involving the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon? Or following the paths of Sojourner, Spirit or Curiosity on Mars using a form of cross-country skiing? Think of new ways for to astronauts to use their free time. To present your results develop an app that makes use of virtual reality tools.


Knot ball is a simple game,2 teams of 2 play in an area the size of two regular parking lot spaces. With a light foam ball or clean pair of socks hopefully with a fit bit or some similar technology with an accelerometer and bluetooth transmitter combo. Players on a team can only hit the ball with their palm upwards, an accelerometer could alarm if hit illegally down. You can hit it to yourself or teammate a total of two palm touches each then the ball must cross the middle line/net/danger zone; if you hacky sack that is allowed just not to cross the danger zone (kick it up, not over). Six players usually provides two officials to monitor the "danger zone" or imaginary wall that is the shared middle parking spots line, if any part of either teammate hitting the ball is over the dangerzone even just by a sliver that is a violation. If the ball lands on the danger zone line it is out (the only line that is out) but the imaginary sidelines and end lines are all in. The next team up or two officials can decide in/out on other boundaries but the four players playing should be able to agree and usually the closest player has the best angle. For the journey a single parking lot sized should be available, a soft sock and fact that spiking is not allowed should not harm the craft or any equipment. Using Virtual Reality (VR) an astronaut can maintain morality and compete against friends and family on Earth, of course gravitational differences would need to be considered hopefully a ball with a small powerpack or cubesat tech can provide adjustment for players in different field strength to play in a common desired (artificial) gravity. Video games play online with up to 16 players and sure there is a delay on Earth and there maybe a longer delay in deep space but certain times I am sure this type of connection or one similar enough could be possible. Play to 7 points (sudden death 6-6 whistle blows) , to start you must say the score, most of us may know that zero=nought/knot/nothing; not sure how scientist spell knot, but to get the game popular and competitive and engage the public "Are you knot up?" is an easy clever way to officially start a game. If we make a league or database where you need six people each with a smartphone and the knot up app, two phones on each line the next team/officials phones will be in the middle on the danger zone (with enough battery) the ball has a visible identifier or maybe a more accurate proximity detector but the phones cameras can rule whether the ball landed in or out or if someone infringed on the danger zone illegally. This information on the DSN could allow astronauts and cosmonauts to compete for fun with family and friends.

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