March 10, 2006

Space: The Final Fairway: Sometime this summer, Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov will attempt the longest six-iron shot in golf history on the International Space Station with a scandium club made by Element 21 Golf. "If all goes as planned, the 17,000-mph smash with a golf club will travel 2.1 billion miles."

posted by rcade to golf at 07:42 AM - 33 comments

... longest 6-iron shot in golf history... the 17,000-mph smash with a golf club will travel 2.1 billion miles. Pretty impressive. That's at least a 4-iron for me (though I'm more accurate with the 5 wood).

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:49 AM on March 10

Somehow, this will not be topped, (thank you Alan Shepard !) although, i think he hit the big ball first.

posted by mjkredliner at 08:50 AM on March 10

So, just about as long as Tiger hits his sand wedge then? Oh, and if Vinogradov can get the ball to spin back to within 10,000 miles of No. 13 at Augusta, that will be impressive.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:06 AM on March 10

In space, nobody can hear you shout 'fore!'

posted by JJ at 09:06 AM on March 10

Physics was never my strong point, but presumably the more lofted the club, the higher into orbit it will start and the further the ball will travel?

posted by JJ at 09:08 AM on March 10

Did somebody say physics!!?!? Remember that (a) the space station is already going very fast, and (b) it is already very high. Whatever the astronaut does with the ball is almost completely irrelevant. If you just took a free drop, the ball would orbit along with the space station. Presumably the orbit of the space station is adjusted over time, to keep it aloft, so eventually the golf ball would drift away. Note that they are actually going to hit the ball behind the space station, so that it will be going slightly more slowly, and therefore be assured of a decaying orbit.

posted by Amateur at 09:26 AM on March 10

wonder what Vinogradov's handicap is......

posted by fieldman at 09:36 AM on March 10

. . . besides having to wear a spacesuit?

posted by yerfatma at 10:16 AM on March 10

....more mutterings.....this "distance technology" is just ruining golf...

posted by Leominster at 10:22 AM on March 10

Just wonderin' what Vinogradov's idea of OB is? And if a shank would produce a spacetime continuum that would affect golfers throughout the universe? One thing is certain, there is no big ball to hit first !

posted by mjkredliner at 10:46 AM on March 10

I feel sorry for the caddy if he lets the club slip out of his hands.

posted by njsk8r20 at 10:49 AM on March 10

If Capt Tom Dodge can hit a 7 iron from the deck of a sub, this guy can hit one from space.

posted by dbt302 at 11:29 AM on March 10

If he can avoid the hazards, eventually, he'll have a hole in one.

posted by tselson at 12:17 PM on March 10

This golf ball is going to break someones watch in some foreign galaxy.... Awesome!

posted by everett at 02:33 PM on March 10

and therefore be assured of a decaying orbit. I know what you mean, Amateur, but all orbits are 'decaying'. Gravity seems to work that way.

posted by owlhouse at 03:08 PM on March 10

"If I were up there, I'd hit the skin off with that golf stik thingy" spoken by that great golf legend himself.( Happy Gilmore )

posted by Superstryker62 at 03:39 PM on March 10

I just hope it doesn't hit my cable TV sattelite.

posted by rockamora at 04:53 PM on March 10

...or hit an alien's windsheild. The last thing we need is an intergalactic lawsuit.

posted by njsk8r20 at 05:00 PM on March 10

...a great story for The Golf Channels latest reality show "The Daly Planet" starring, of course, John Daly.

posted by Leominster at 05:34 PM on March 10

I know what you mean, Amateur, but all orbits are 'decaying'. Gravity seems to work that way. owlhouse, all orbits are not decaying! All orbits in the vicinity of the space station, at speeds near the speed of the space station, are decaying, because the atmosphere exerts some small amount of drag. In theory, though, it would be possible to launch an object off the space station, moving faster than the space station, that would eventually escape Earth altogether. As another example, the moon's orbit around the earth is slowly growing, due to tidal forces. And now I'm boring everybody ...

posted by Amateur at 08:19 PM on March 10

In theory, though, it would be possible to launch an object off the space station, moving faster than the space station, that would eventually escape Earth altogether That's not an orbit. And you'd have to give it a good whack to reach escape velocity. 'Tidal forces' = friction and eventual decay, unless something else intervenes. I can only postulate that if the moon's orbit is expanding, then it is due to a perturbation. Unless things are different outside geosynchronous orbits, then I could be wrong, but I think I'm right in relation to satellites, although in these cases the effects of atmosphere and the earth's electromagnetic field are much larger.

posted by owlhouse at 09:02 PM on March 10

Aha! I concede in relation to the moon. It's not often we can debate these important issues on SpoFi. From Wiki: The gravitational attraction that the Moon exerts on Earth is the cause of tides in the sea. The tidal flow period, but not the phase, is synchronized to the Moon's orbit around Earth. The tidal bulges on Earth, caused by the Moon's gravity, are carried ahead of the apparent position of the Moon by the Earth's rotation, in part because of the friction of the water as it slides over the ocean bottom and into or out of bays and estuaries. As a result, some of the Earth's rotational momentum is gradually being transferred to the Moon's orbital momentum, resulting in the Moon slowly receding from Earth at the rate of approximately 38 mm per year.

posted by owlhouse at 09:12 PM on March 10

But I stand by the principle of two objects orbiting each other, as according to General Relativity, they emit gravitational waves, losing energy and hence will eventually 'fall into' each other. Although no-one seems to have conclusive proof that gravitational waves exist. Yet.

posted by owlhouse at 09:32 PM on March 10

Whoa! I was not prepared to consider General Relativity here, and it is outside my expertise, to be honest. In classical mechanics, the two-body problem, with two perfectly rigid bodies (no tides and no atmospheres) it is possible to have an orbit that is stable for an infinite length of time. The solution for the trajectory is a perfect ellipse. In the real world, various gravitational perturbations (from other bodies) may act to increase or decrease the radius. As for tides, the effect can also either increase or decrease the radius (depending on the relative spins). Of course drag always decreases the orbit, so for satellites, like space stations and golf balls, the orbits always decay. But finally: defining an "orbit" that eventually goes to infinite radius (i.e. escape) as "not an orbit" isn't really fair! You're then saying, "all of the orbits that are either just exactly and perfectly stable for an infinitely long time, or decaying, decay." Hey, where did everyone go?

posted by Amateur at 10:25 PM on March 10

Hey, where did everyone go? Dude, I took off to pull the pin. Are you trying to tell me the golf ball will decay before he gets a hole in one?

posted by tselson at 10:38 PM on March 10

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posted by wfrazerjr at 08:56 AM on March 11

A theoretical physicist walks into a bar...

posted by JJ at 12:02 PM on March 11

Why is this bar so low . . .

posted by yerfatma at 05:00 PM on March 11

...let's make like an atom and split.

posted by njsk8r20 at 06:26 PM on March 11

Sorry guys. Thanks Amateur! But the theoretical physicist's piece de resistance must be: Q: What's the difference between Karl Marx and an anisotropic medium? A: One has a didactic dialectic, while the other has a diadic dielectric. Oh the fun never stops.

posted by owlhouse at 09:14 PM on March 11

Naw ... A horse walks into a bar and orders a double rye. The bartender looks at him and says, "Why the long face?"

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:24 AM on March 12

Or ... Two sausages are in a frying pan. One says, "Isn't this pan too hot?" The second yells, "Holy shit! A talking sausage!"

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:26 AM on March 12

Arrgh you took my joke! (the first one). Termite walks into a bar and asks "Where's the bar tender?"

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:03 PM on March 12

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