Articles, Blog

International Toys in Space: Hockey

August 21, 2019

COMPUTERIZED VOICE: Hockey. NARRATOR: When everything floats, it’s hard to begin a hockey game with a faceoff, but Valery and Sergei give it a try. On Earth, this sport relies on gravity, on the energy transferred to a puck when hit by a stick, on the puck’s speed, and on what happens when the puck hits a wall. In space, it’s easy to swing the stick, but harder to keep the stick from touching the puck when the puck can bounce off in any direction. Passing back and forth works well until the puck is pushed against the floor. Then it bounces up and becomes hard to control. This puck is a very soft plastic to protect the space hockey player. Passing back and forth can be mastered, but there’s no friction or downward force to hold the puck to the floor. What if Valery and Sergei decide to compete for the puck? Then it’s challenging to control the puck and to take it away from your opponent. It’s easier to check with the puck on the locker than in the air, and it’s also easier to pass when there’s a surface to help control the puck’s motion. Sergei also discovered that the vent helps control the puck. Both the vent texture and the air pulling down through the vent both stabilize and slow down the puck’s motion. WOMAN: Works well on a fan. That’s cheating. NARRATOR: To play hockey, we need a goal, so we’ll use the hatch, with Valery as the goalie. [ Cheers and applause ] WOMAN: I like your — your mask, Valery. That was cool. NARRATOR: It’s Sergei’s task to score by knocking the puck past Valery and through the hatch. Notice that it’s hard to keep the puck still long enough to take a shot at the goal. Is it easier to block a shot on Earth or in space? Look at Valery’s stance, with his feet in straps for stability. It’s hard to stay in place to protect the goal, and it’s fun to imagine new rules for a space hockey game.


  • Reply TheMythicalGryphon September 18, 2017 at 10:35 am


  • Reply Sailor Barsoom December 28, 2017 at 5:38 am

    So you could play air hockey, except the puck would be sucked down onto the table.

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