Kids’ Science Challenge: Sports on Mars – Playing the Game
TJ: “You dribble the ball and collect the dust, there’s two basketballs.”
AV: “Okay, so two people on each team playing defense, and the other three playing offense at the same time, so it’s going to be kind of crazy.”
JM: Ashwin Vasavada is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and he’s well acquainted with the unique conditions on Mars. Well, combine that knowledge with a new sport invented by fifth-grader Tyrone Hutchinson, and when we arrive on the Red Planet one day, get ready for a round of Magnetic Dust Balland a slam dunk about 20 feet up in the air. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Tyrone is one of the winners of the Kids’ Science Challenge, our free nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th-graders.
AV: “So what does a Magnetic Dust Ball player look like?”
TJ: “He has a gold suit.”
AV: “Gold suit to reflect the rays of the sun? Okay.”
TJ: “And he has an oxygen tank. And he has magnetic gloves so he can pick up the ball better.”
AV: “Oh, so he can, like, just hold onto the ball with one hand, even. Okay, that’s cool.”
TJ: “And then you have like a football helmet, only like an astronaut helmet, so he can like, breathe.”
AV: “Is the helmet because you’re going to crash into people”
TJ: “Yeah, because you can trip and stuff”
AV: “You can trip, oh, and there’s rocks and everything”
TJ: “Yeah, I did that yesterday.”
AV: “Oh, really? Okay so on Mars we’ll wear helmets. Any particular shoes?”
TJ: “They have shoes that protect them, but they’re light so they’ll let you go faster. How do you land on Mars?”
AV: “How do you land on Mars? It will be kind of like Earth, you know, you’ll jump up high, but then you also won’t fall as hard. So you know, it will be a little scary, because when you’re up their dunking the ball, you’re going to be looking down and Mars will be 20 feet below you, maybe. Be careful, and make sure you’ve got good footing when you land.”
JM: You can jump that high because there’s lower gravity on Mars.
To learn more more about the Kids’ Science Challenge, visit kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.