NASA is truly ready for some football!
In a new video, NASA employees and affiliates virtually toss a football from space to various centers across the United States to celebrate the Super Bowl, as well as NASA's journey to Mars.
The Super Bowl will play Sunday (Feb. 5) at NRG Stadium in Houston, also home to NASA's Johnson Space Center, where astronauts train for space. [NASA Goes to Super Bowl 2017 (Photos)]
The video begins with Shane Kimbrough, Expedition 50 commander, holding a football. "To all of you back on Earth in the Super Bowl city of Houston, welcome," he says. "We hope you enjoy our great city and have a fabulous Super Bowl week."
Kimbrough then tosses the football off camera, and the next scene shows a football landing in the hands of NASA astronaut Victor Glover, on a treadmill in NASA's countermeasure training laboratory in Houston. From there, the football passes to people all over the United States.
Some of the places the football lands includes:
- Inside the pool at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, where astronauts practice spacewalks beside a full-scale mockup of the International Space Station. ("It's like an astronaut's practice field," one of the scuba divers says on camera.)
- The "Mars Yard," a location at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California where Red Planet rover prototypes are tested;
- The Kennedy Space Center, where NASA's next-generation Space Launch System megarocket will launch to targets outside of Earth orbit;
- The largest wind tunnel in the world at NASA Ames Research Center, where parachutes for Mars landings are tested;
- The "clean room" at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, where the James Webb Space Telescope is being readied for launch in 2018.
Viewers are also treated to football facts, such as:
- A football thrown on Mars will fly three times further and stay in the "air" three times longer than on Earth. That's because Mars has a gravity one-third that of Earth's;
- NASA's Orion spacecraft, which is intended to ride on the SLS rocket, could fit 4,625 footballs inside of it;
- About 31 football fields would fit inside the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the SLS is being built;
- The height of NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida's Kennedy Space Center is nearly double the length of NRG Stadium in Houston;
- A powerful wind tunnel at NASA's Langley Research Center could propel a football from one end zone to the other in less than one-quarter of a second.
So if you watch the big game today, take a moment to think about what a future Super Bowl might be like in space.