It's official, Super Bowl LVIII has reached outer space.
Two NASA astronauts apparently geared up for the big showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas today (Feb. 11) by tossing the old pigskin around the International Space Station.
Getting some reps in before #SuperBowl Sunday 🏈 pic.twitter.com/ATM6hJXW8aFebruary 10, 2024
"Getting some reps in before Super Bowl Sunday," NASA wrote on X (formerly Twitter) while sharing a short video of the Expedition 70 astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O'Hara tossing the football on the station on Feb. 10.
In the initial video, which last just 4 seconds without sound, Moghbeli throws the football at a camera as O'Hara floats in weightlessness at her side holding a microphone. It's a harrowing toss, as the pair were in a packed module of the station, surrounded by laptops, cables and other equipment.
You can see Moghbeli laugh as the football bounces off something off screen and come floating back. NASA later uploaded a longer version of the video with a quick reference to Taylor Swift, the renowned singer dating football offense player Travis Kelce. Kelce played for the winning Kansas City Chiefs.
O'Hara joked that new Kansas City fans are "Swiftly coming up to speed" as they only recently began watching football due to Swift's new interest in the game. Moghbeli also cupped her hands in a heart symbol, which Swift has been doing on stage since the 2009-2010 "Fearless" tour. (The National Football League also used the heart-hands emoji in some commercials, as a little Easter egg for Swifties.)
Swift's music has also reached space on at least one occasion, on a Cubesat launched in 2018 on behalf of a group of Idaho teenagers, according to UPI. Representatives of the North Idaho STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Charter Academy put a copy of the album 1989 on the satellite, along with Swift's signature upon the side. Swift herself sent the music on to the group, UPI said.
The astronauts weren't the only ones to get in on the Super Bowl ahead of today's game. The Canadian Space Agency released a short video on X showing its Dextre robot on the station's hull wearing a football referee jersey. In the animated clip, the robot raises its arms in a touchdown sign as the crowd goes wild.
"A new referee has fantastic view from space!" the Canadian Space Agency wrote in the X post. "Dextre, the Space Station Canadian robotic helper, wishes you a great Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday!"
A new referee has a fantastic view from space! 🏈 Dextre, the @Space_Station Canadian robotic helper, wishes you a great Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday! @NFL #SBLVIII pic.twitter.com/JGBgjTwDsyFebruary 9, 2024
NASA has had run-ins with the Super Bowl before.
In 2017, Houston - the hometown of NASA's Mission Control and Johnson Space Center - hosted Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons (spoiler alert: the Patriots won 34 to 28) and NASA celebrated with a space-themed Super Bowl Live experience, space testing of NFL regulation footballs and more.
In 2010, the opening coin toss of Super Bowl XLIV was made with a coin that flew in space and NASA even recruited a former NFL football player as an astronaut: Leland Melvin was drafted by the Detroit Lions as a wide receiver in 1986 and was injured a year later while with the Dallas Cowboys, ending his football career.
Melvin joined NASA in 1998 and flew on two space shuttle missions before retiring from NASA in 2014.
Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:25 a.m. EST with the longer video and a Taylor Swift reference.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.
Good until they smash a screen or trash a cable!Reply
Looks like an "incomplete". Too bad, considering that they were traveling at about 17,000 mph, because they would have traveled something like 25,000 feet between time of release and time of catch - clearly a passing distance record that is "out of this world".Reply