With the world glued to the start of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, another sports match almost stole the show. Here is the twist – it was played in space!
Astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS) participated in a one-of-a-kind, zero-gravity, doubles badminton match.
The match, which took place in one of the larger modules in the ISS, required a special set of rules – quite different from how we’d play the game on earth.
In the hilarious video, you can see the astronauts holding on to anything that could stop them from floating away as they valiantly try to make contact with the shuttlecock.
Given the dodgy rules and the adventurous gameplay, the teams reportedly didn’t keep score. Instead, they decided that ‘friendship won’ at the end of the day.
In the first match, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Anton Shkaplerov faced off against Mark Vande Hei from the United States and Norishige Kanai from Japan.
In the second game, Vande Hei was replaced by Jacob Acaba.
Watch the video here:
The current ISS commander, Russian astronaut Alexander Misurkin, is a champion badminton player back home – he is the two-time winner of ‘Star Volcano’, traditionally held in Russia's Star City in honour of Cosmonautics Day.
In fact, he was so proud of his crew, he said the outer space badminton game was "tantamount to placing a flag on Mars".
The video of the match, which was played on January 1, was released recently by the Russian space agency ‘Roscosmos’ on their YouTube page.
Astronauts aboard the ISS have made the best use of social media in a bid to get people to interact more with the workings of outer space.
This isn’t the first time astronauts have goofed off during work. In the past, social media went crazy thanks to a challenge posted by Vande Hei – he posted a photo asking people to spot the astronaut’s leg.
In another instance, Shkaplerov rode a vacuum cleaner in space on people’s demand.