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Playing games in space

Tue, 05/21/2013 - 12:02pm
Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor

  Chris Hadfield might just be the coolest guy on the internet (or in this solar system.) The astronaut—who just recently returned to earth—made it part of his mission to share different things happening on the international space station since he took command—the first Canadian to do so—on December 19, 2012.

Hadfield became a minor celebrity from his videos, which included showing what happens when you wring out a wet rag in space, where astronauts sleep on the ISS, how to wash your hands, clip your nails and brush your teeth, and even how space affects your eyesight.

(The Guardian did a great roundup of his tweets, here)

 The 53-year-old used the videos as a way to engage a different audience and answer questions about life on the ISS and how astronauts manage regular activities without gravity.  I’ve never been particularly interested in space—except for briefly during the Mars exploration —but I spent a few hours one night watching these fascinating videos. Studying how astronauts live is like studying a completely different culture and utilizing social media and YouTube to showcase that is a killer move on the part of the international space community.

Even though Hadfield has since returned to gravity—everything must be so much more difficult now—a video was recently released featuring the Canadian and Jamie Hyenman and Adam Savage of Mythbusters. The video features the earth team designing a new type of game for Hadfield to try, the goal of which is to create a dart that utilizes the no-gravity zone to actually curve mid-throw.  Hadfield even sneaks in a preview of a game he invented called “space darts.”

I want to be an aloof journalist and say, isn’t this a great tool for teaching? Won’t the children love it? But, frankly, Hadfield was a great teacher for kids of all ages and hopefully someone will take his place as the internet’s favorite—second to Hadfield—astronaut.

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