No human habitat would be complete without a place to play football – not even the moon.
In recognition of this, experts have revealed the home and away kits of what they envisage will become the first ever lunar football club, ‘Moon United’.
Rather than being splashed with the names of major corporate sponsors, the vivid space-inspired designs include colorful illustrations of the solar system.
However, these sophisticated kits would have to be transformed into Apollo-style spacesuits if they were ever to be worn on the Moon.
Scientists believe this beautiful game could be played on the Moon as early as 2035, although it will be very different from a game here on Earth.
The winning designs are expected to be transformed into Apollo-style spacesuits with internal cooling and heating systems.
The two new kit designs are the result of a UK children’s competition organized by the London-based Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
The winning designs – which show a “blend of striking design work and scientific thinking” – were selected by a jury from more than 500 entries and transformed into actual outfits.
Winners Erim Ali, 13, and Ishaani Nair, 7, were presented with their kits by Tottenham Hotspur striker Beth England and British aerospace engineer Sophie Harker.
“Engineering has so much potential to help make things we dream about, like playing soccer on the Moon, a reality,” Harker said.
“With imaginative and inventive children like Erim and Ishaani, I hope the next generation will be the ones to achieve this.”
Erim’s gray unisex design – the home kit – has “molecule-inspired geometric shapes” and is said to turn sweat into usable water.
Meanwhile, the more colorful away jersey designed by Ishaani has a space theme, with illustrations of the sun to represent the “positivity of the game” and shooting stars representing the speed and spirit of football.
In the center is a football with a ring in the middle – a reference to the planet Saturn.
The new designs are the result of a competition organized by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Pictured are the young winners with professional footballer Beth England (left) and British engineer Sophie Harker (right).
The gray kit is Moon United’s home kit, while the pink/blue kit is the away kit.
Experts believe this beautiful game could be played on the Moon as early as 2035, although it will be very different from a game here on Earth.
What would moon football look like?
– Five-a-side play and a holographic referee to provide space and avoid collisions
– Four 10-minute shifts with 20-minute intervals between each to refuel and repair equipment
– Red and yellow cards displayed virtually in players’ visors
– Laser sintering can transform lunar soil into a flat surface
– Nets, enclosed sides and a roof must also be intact due to lack of gravity
– Nearly twice the size of a terrestrial football strictly black and white to contrast with the lunar soil
– Lightweight version of the Apollo spacesuits with heating systems
– These would have increased flexibility and built-in padding around the knees and elbows
If humans were to actually establish a habitat on the moon, the IET wants to make Moon United the first ever club.
The institute has already published a rule book describing what the sport will look like on the lunar surface – and several changes would be made to our beloved sport.
First, each player would have to carry their own oxygen tank attached to their airtight Apollo-style spacesuit, which would have internal cooling and heating systems.
The pitch would be eight times smaller than a football field on Earth and would be surrounded by a net to prevent the ball or players from flying away.
The ball would be almost twice the size of a normal soccer ball and mostly black to contrast with the gray lunar soil, which would be laser-treated to make it flatter.
The ball would also have a spongy center, as an air-filled ball would likely leak or burst due to the pressure difference between the ball and the vacuum of space.
Additionally, there would only be five players on each side and instead of two halves, there would be four 10-minute quarters with a 20-minute break between each quarter to allow players to recover.
The offside rule would also be removed, which will please many fans who cannot stand the tedious VAR checks to determine whether a goal is valid.
Moon football would also be a “strictly non-contact” sport, although due to the lack of gravity, any close control or fancy dribbling we’ve come to expect from Lionel Messi would be out of the question anyway.
Although much of the IET rulebook is written in a tongue-in-cheek style, scientists are actually preparing for human life on the moon and looking at typical activities that might or might not be possible there, from growing crops to sexual relations.
NASA’s first Artemis missions are expected to lay the groundwork for bases on the Moon later this decade (photo is an artist’s impression)
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A key part of NASA’s Artemis program involves returning humans to the lunar surface in 2025 – which would be the first time human boots have touched the Moon since 1972.
Although it would only be a fleeting visit of about a week, it would lay the groundwork for building lunar bases by the end of the 2020s.
These would be complemented by accommodation for long-term stays and research facilities allowing explorers to study lunar rocks.
Eventually, the Moon could become a thriving metropolis with hotels and other businesses for “space tourists” paying thousands of dollars for exclusive vacations.
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Howard Hu, director of Orion, told the BBC that the launch was “historic for human spaceflight” and a first step toward long-term exploration of deep space.
After a series of failed launch attempts earlier in 2022, Artemis 1 lifted off on November 21 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The uncrewed mission around the Moon will pave the way for a crewed flight test around the Moon in 2024 (Artemis 2).
Then, in 2025, humans would actually land on the lunar surface (Artemis 3) for the first time since 1972.