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NASA Space Science

Astronaut to Run the Boston Marathon From Space 176

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the space-racing dept.
BostonBehindTheScenes writes "American astronaut Sunita Williams will run 26.2 miles on a treadmill on Patriot's Day (April 16th for those of you outside of Massachusetts) while runners on the ground will compete in the 111th Boston Marathon, according to this New Scientist article. And yes, she is an actual registered participant who qualified by finishing among the top 100 women in the Houston Marathon in 2006. NASA's press release touts this as yet another space first."
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Astronaut to Run the Boston Marathon From Space

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  • by F-3582 (996772) on Friday March 30, 2007 @06:34AM (#18541425)
    Physiologically speaking, you don't have any gravity for your blood stream, specifically your heart, to handle. In my opinion you can't compare such a run to a real one!
  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday March 30, 2007 @06:41AM (#18541463) Journal
    Lighten up. I seriously doubt her numbers will be "official". She is running on a treadmill in zero G. It is publicity for the Boston Marathon, and likely good physiological research for NASA.
  • by oni (41625) on Friday March 30, 2007 @08:00AM (#18542017) Homepage
    in space, you don't even have the resistance of bouncing up and down.

    I don't think that resistance is quite the right word, but I agree with you in general - what she's doing shouldn't qualify as running the marathon. The biggest problem with long-term space travel is bone loss, and NASA has already proven that just tethering a person to a treadmil and letting them exercise doesn't fix the problem. They still lose bone mass. That's all the proof I need that what she's doing isn't the same as running on earth.

    Still, there is a bright side to this. This might just be the longest run on a treadmill in zero-g. And since she has run marathons on the ground, she will be in a good position to report what the differences are and maybe this will lead to better zero-g exercise equipment.
  • Will she overheat? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by giafly (926567) on Friday March 30, 2007 @08:03AM (#18542053)
    No gravity means no convection. No headwind means little conduction.
    Will they generate an artificial headwind using a fan, or does the International Space Station have powerful air conditioning already?
  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday March 30, 2007 @08:57AM (#18542617)

    and likely good physiological research for NASA.
    Sure the astronauts have to do SOMETHING to kill time on the ISS, but I hope Nasa doesn't launch into some sappy ploy about how this is advancing science - unless it is actually true.

    Jokes about taxpayer-funded oxygen aside, the US is paying about $4BN per year [wikipedia.org] for the ISS (including its share of the Shuttle). Assume (generously) that of the 3 people aboard, 2 are Americans. That works out to $3,800 per person per minute, or just slightly under $1 million to run a 4 hour marathon. So you tell me, what will we get for our million dollars?

  • Re:Pork. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhsurfer (539137) <bhsurfer.gmail@com> on Friday March 30, 2007 @09:35AM (#18543151)
    Funny (or not), you've pretty accurately described the American government's thoughts on spending as well.
  • by Zenaku (821866) on Friday March 30, 2007 @10:20AM (#18543771)
    Yeah -- her running the Boston one is clearly just a nice bit of publicity for the marathon and the space program. I'm sure her time will be utterly and completely unofficial.

    What she SHOULD do is start her own marathon -- the 2007 Space Marathon! She'll win because she'll be the only one in it.

    Obligatory: Fine! I'll start my own marathon! With blackjack! And hookers! In fact, forget the marathon and the blackjack!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2007 @12:31PM (#18545817)
    How do you measure the incline of the treadmill in microgravity?

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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