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Exploring Sports and Space: NASA Unveils ‘AstrOlympics’ Project in Time for Rio Games

Aug 08, 2016 04:23 AM EDT
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The “AstrOlympics” project compares Olympic athletes to objects in space.
(Photo : Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

NASA recently unveiled its "AstrOlympics" project in time for the 2016 Rio Olympics on Aug. 5 to 21.

AstrOlympics, which was developed by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory communications group, compares the feats of Olympic athletes with the different cosmic phenomena in the universe. It explores the physical connections between sports and space, with topics such as speed, distance, time, mass, rotation and pressure.

"AstrOlympics provides brief explanations of the physical concepts and then compares examples from common every day experiences, Olympic events, and discoveries from space made with Chandra and other telescopes," the Chandra team said in a press release.

"For example, the speed section compares the world's fastest sprinter to a typical speed limit on a highway to how fast the debris of an exploded star moves."

The AstrOlympics project consists of a series of posters, videos and a website. The materials will be displayed in different locations in the U.S., Brazil and Uruguay among others.

Moreover, the U.S. State Department will also place AstrOlympics materials in select American Spaces, places around the world where visitors can learn about the United States.

"What do Olympic athletes and objects in space have in common? The answer is matter in motion, often in extreme examples," the AstrOlympics team said on the website.

"Whether it is a human body moving at the fastest speeds possible or the debris from an exploded star blasting through space, the physics of that motion is, in many ways, the same."

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is a telescope designed to detect X-ray emissions from extremely hot regions of the universe, including supernova explosions, cluster of galaxies, matter around black holes and other X-ray producing objects in space. Since its launch in July 1999, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has been NASA's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy and a part of NASA's fleet of "Great Observatories."

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