Space Tug-of-War (STOW)

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.


1. Introduction

Tug-of-War is a multiplayer game that has been around since 2500 BC. It was often celebrated as a test of strength between two people or two groups. However, there is another factor that falls into play in a tug-of-war: friction. The frictional force of the ground acting against our feet is what helps keep us stay in place and the friction of our hands against the rope helps us in keeping the rope from sliding so we can rely on our upper body strength in pulling the rope. Now we have adapted this game for microgravity wherein the only frictional force is the one between our hands and the rope so more energy is focused on upper body and grip strength.

2. Materials

a. x02 Harnesses (preferably the ones used for the COLBERT Treadmill)

b. x02 Lengths of Strong Rope

c. x02 Gloves (optional)

3. Mechanics

a. This is a two-player game.

b. Players wear the harnesses and chain them to each others’ in a position wherein their heads are in opposite directions.

c. Ropes are firmly tied to parallel and opposite walls.

d. The players grab opposite ropes and start pulling themselves towards the wall on their side.

e. The first person to let go of their rope loses.

f. (or alternatively due to lack of space) the first person to touch the wall on their side wins the game.

4. Rules

  1. Players may not tie/twirl/knot their ropes in any way.
  2. Players may crawl down their end of the rope and are only declared lost if both hands let go of the rope (or when the opposing player touches their wall)
  3. Kicking is discouraged (but if you like it rough, then so be it. Just be careful where you kick)
Resources Used
Made inMandaluyong Philippines
from the minds of
How they did it