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The Olympics on Mars


The Olympics and the Mars rover Curiosity are the two hot topics of the day. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted up a storm last week about his own Mars curiosity.

He asked to his followers, "How about a Mars Olympics? Yes, all the athletes would suffocate. Ignoring that complication, way cooler than Earth #Olympics." Tyson speculated about how the Games would go down on the red planet. Many sports would have a new element of danger added. We're not talking minor injuries. Here are our favorite Tyson tweets.

Cycling: "If there was Cycling on Mars, try Olympus Mons — a volcanic mountain 5x taller than Mont Blanc in the Alps."

Some estimates say that the last Olympus Mons eruption was 25 million years ago. Unsure when to expect the next one, we have to wonder what the chances are of that volcanic mountain erupting mid-ride. If the height of the mountain doesn't get you, the lava might. 

Badminton: "With 1% of Earth's air density, Badminton on Mars would be different — a shuttlecock to the face lands you in the hospital."

We're not saying that badminton is a boring sport, but we certainly think more people would tune in to the fast-paced event if it took place on Mars. The players wouldn't know whether to go for the shuttlecock or to run from it. Now that's an interesting game.

This could end badlyGymnastics: 
"On Mars, with only 38% of Earth's gravity, the Vault & other spring-assisted leaps would resemble circus cannons."

Of all the sports in the Olympics, the one that seems the least bound by the laws of physics is gymnastics. The tiny, muscled athletes seem to be swimming in mid-air during each event. How would they fare with 38% less gravity? Perhaps they would finally crack the code to human flight.

Rowing: "Rowing on Mars would log about the same race times. There's hardly any movement with or against the 62% lower gravity there."

Moving to a new planet is no small feat. Everything would be different for us, except rowing. It's nice to know that we can maintain a little bit of consistency. Tyson's humorous tweets do have a dark tinge to them — we're probably not well-suited for life on Mars. Exploration of other planets is an amazing accomplishment, but perhaps we should focus on restoring Earth before we start planning the Mars Olympic Games. No matter how cool they would be.

--Image by iStockphoto/Sazonoff and bmcent1


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Krislyn(2)Krislyn Placide
is an editorial intern at Sierra going into her fourth year of journalism school at Northwestern University. When she's not updating the blog, she likes running through parks and eating her weight in watermelon.

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