Loading...
BYH, have the courage to be disliked....

Hanging over fall football

Ida
1 of 2

NASA/JPL image of Asteroid Ida (left) and its moon, Dactyl (right).

joy moses-Hall.jpg.jpg
Loading…

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The time has come to Ida-lize some hang time.

Leaves hang precariously from branches, youth hang out at campus festivals, and footballs hang in the air between punt and post. On footballs, in particular, hang the hopes and dreams of autumn time.

When a football is kicked on Earth, the crowd gasps as the ball goes up, up, up, spinning away from Earth, but slowing down in its upward climb even as it slides sideways, then, for the briefest of times, it stops its upward motion altogether, then begins to fall, still sliding, coming back down in an arc following a path not unlike the umbrella-shape of a parabola. The longer it hangs, the farther it goes. A typical 50-yard kickoff (measured from toe to turf) hangs three seconds and soars 40 feet high.

Taking the game on the road to another planet changes its intensity. On Jupiter, the gasp would be short-lived. Jupiter’s gravity is 2.5 times stronger than Earth’s, and the parabola is 2.5 times shorter. Jupiter snaps the ball back to the ground 2.5 times faster than on Earth. The boot that travels 50 yards and hangs three seconds down the Earth field would go only 20 yards and hang for a little more than a second on Jupiter. Jupiter is bigger, so it is harder for things to rise away, and footballs would be yanked down sooner and quicker.

But imagine a spectacular football game on the asteroid Ida.

Ida is an oblong rock that looks like a 40-mile baked potato. It is about a 100 million times smaller (by mass) than Earth, and so its surface gravity is a miniscule fraction of Earth’s. A football punt of the same impetus as the 50-yarder on Earth would feature a staggering hang time of forty minutes on Ida! And the ball would travel almost 40,000 yards — 20 miles! — downfield. On its parabola, it would go so high — five miles high, lost in the dark-as-night Ida sky — that it would never actually come back down.

A kick — indeed, a vigorous jump — could launch ball and kicker off the asteroid into an interplanetary journey, and by the time one reached that five-miles-up mark, puny Ida would be too far away to pull it back down. As it continued to drift away, out to 50 miles above Ida, the football might there encounter Ida’s tiny moon, Dactyl, which is only one mile across. Dactyl is like a large pebble whirling around the tumble-spinning Ida. From Dactyl, with a tenuous gravity so scant that a Dactylian pedestrian might have to tether to the surface to keep from accidentally drifting off, even the feeblest athlete could regularly lob balls into space.

At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, high soaring footballs that sliced into the end zone were dreaded. Freshman cadets of the Corps, including my classmates in 1978, were required to attend home games, in their dress uniforms, to support the team and fully express that support with pride pushups.

A pride pushup is the familiar prone calisthenic, but exercised with a swell of delight inside one’s heart. Whenever the Coast Guard Bears scored, 200 cadets in the stands stopped and dropped to toes and palms, shouting, “one, sir” to the crowd. Two hundred dark blue dress coats dipped and tipped again. “Two, sir!” Two hundred hearts took flight with delight. “Three, sir!” Four hundred sleeves flexed to their necks over pecs and solar plex. “Four, sir!” Four hundred shoulders heaved to achieve. “Five, sir!” and on up to 25.

Some cadets were looped over bleachers, some found a grassy knoll from which to push up, others crowded together like champagne bubbles yearning to break free, cheek to cheek and bumper to bumper in esprit de TD.

The hang top of a pride pushup is thankfully short, but transport that pushup to Ida and it is out of this world. Time to hang up and Ida-lize the hang time.

Joy Moses-Hall teaches, physics, Earth science and astronomy at Pitt Community College. She has a PhD in oceanography and is the author of the novel Wretched Refuge. She has Follow @jmoseshall on Facebook.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

October 09, 2019

Pitt Partners for Health is celebrating a quarter century of helping community residents live healthier lives.

Established in 1995, PPH is Pitt County’s community health coalition. The group is led by a steering committee whose members represent Vidant Medical Center, the Pitt County Health…

sign

October 09, 2019

Around the globe parents are buckling their children into car seats with the very best intentions. Unfortunately, some are missing the mark, placing their most precious cargo in danger.

Following the fine points of car seat safety can reduce the risk of a child’s death in a car crash by as…

IMG-0231.jpg

October 09, 2019

Every day we have to figure out what we want to eat. Our taste buds, the weather and even our emotions help us determine what we choose to feed not only our bellies, but our souls. We often choose foods and tastes that bring back memories. I talk about this often: food and memory go hand-in-hand.…

20190927_162729.jpg

October 09, 2019

Dear readers: I heard from many of you last week in response to the headlines that “there was no need to cut down on red and processed meat.” We just were able to get copies of the original studies — five systematic reviews — and several medical students, colleagues and I…

Kolasa, Kathy

October 02, 2019

Downtown Greenville has been growing in leaps and bounds over the last five years and there is no sign it’s stopping anytime soon. You can find shiny, new high-rise student housing, fun clubs, bars, restaurants and everything in-between, all within a mile of ECU’s campus. The Bodega…

20190927_134638.jpg

October 02, 2019

Q: I recently developed gout. An old friend of mine dug a piece of well-worn paper from his wallet. It was a list of foods someone told him to avoid a long time ago. He said it pretty much works for him. Is this an old wives’ tale or are there scientific recommendations on how to…

Kolasa, Kathy

September 29, 2019

The Service League of Greenville recently awarded a new scholarship it created with the East Carolina University Medical and Health Sciences Foundation and held the first in series of book signings at the fundraising gift shops it operates at Vidant Medical Center.

The league endowed the…

Joey Jones

September 25, 2019

Heart attacks can happen anywhere, anytime.

What’s more, heart disease remains the No. 1 killer, and when it comes to heart attacks, fast action and rapid treatment can save the life of heart attack patients.

“We know the faster we can re-establish the blood flow to blocked arteries for…

eastcare.jpg

September 25, 2019

Q: I don’t know what to do. I have diabetes and my doctor had told me it was OK to drink diet soda. My friend told me she heard it’s not safe. What do you think? HJ, Farmville

A: I bet your doctor probably told you it would be best if you drank water as your beverage of choice. Marissa…

Kolasa, Kathy

September 22, 2019

The time has come to Ida-lize some hang time.

Leaves hang precariously from branches, youth hang out at campus festivals, and footballs hang in the air between punt and post. On footballs, in particular, hang the hopes and dreams of autumn time.

When a football is kicked on Earth, the crowd gasps…

Ida
67 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 7
        Next Page»   Last Page»