No human habitat would be complete without somewhere to play football – not even the moon.
In recognition of this, experts have revealed home and away kits for what they envisage will be the first ever lunar football club, ‘Moon United’.
Rather than being splashed with the names of big corporate sponsors, the vivid space-inspired designs include colourful illustrations of the solar system.
However, the swish kits would have to be fashioned into Apollo-style space suits if they were ever to be worn on the moon.
Scientists believe the beautiful game could be played on the moon as early as 2035, although it will look very different to a match here on Earth.
The new designs are the result of a competition run by Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Pictured are the young winners with professional footballer Beth England (left) and British engineer Sophie Harker (right)
The winning designs would have to be fashioned into Apollo-style space suits that would have internal cooling and heating systems
The two new kit designs are the result of a UK children’s competition run by Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), based in London.
The winning designs – which show a ‘mix of striking design work and scientific thinking’ – were picked by a panel of judges from more than 500 entries and manufactured into real attire.
Winners Erim Ali, 13, and Ishaani Nair, 7 were presented their kits by Tottenham Hotspur forward Beth England and British aerospace engineer Sophie Harker.
‘There’s so much potential for engineering to help make things we only dream of, like playing football on the Moon, a reality,’ said Harker
‘With imaginative, inventive children like Erim and Ishaani I’m hopeful that the next generation will be the ones to make it happen.’
Erim’s grey unisex design – the home kit – has ‘geometric, molecule-inspired shapes’ and would turn sweat into usable water.
Meanwhile, the more colourful away kit deigned by Ishaani has a space theme, with illustrations of the sun to represent the ‘positivity of the game’ and the shooting stars represent the speed and spirit of football.
In the centre is a football with a ring around the middle – a reference to the planet Saturn.
The grey kit is the home kit for Moon United, while and the pink/blue kit is the away kit
Experts believe the beautiful game could be played on the moon as early as 2035, although it will look very different to a match here on Earth
What would lunar football look like?
– Five-a-side game and one hologram referee to provide space and avoid collisions
– Four 10-minute quarters with 20-minute intervals between each to refuel and repair equipment
– Red and yellow cards displayed virtually in players’ visors
– Laser sintering can turn the lunar soil into an even surface
– Nets, closed sides and a roof should also be intact due to the lack of gravity
– Nearly twice the size of a terrestrial football which is strictly black and white to contrast with the lunar soil
– Slimmed down version of Apollo spacesuits with heating systems
– These would have increased flexibility and in-built padding around the knees and elbows
If humans really were to set up a habitat on the moon, IET wants to establish Moon United as the first ever club.
The institute has already published a rulebook outlining what the sport will look like on the lunar surface – and there are several tweaks that would be made to our beloved sport.
Firstly, 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 that of a football pitch on Earth and would be surrounded by netting to stop the ball or players from floating away.
The ball would be nearly twice the size of a normal football and mainly black to contrast with the grey lunar soil, which would be treated with a laser to make it flatter.
The ball would also have a spongey centre, as a ball filled with air would likely leak or burst due to the pressure difference between the ball and the vacuum of space.
What’s more, there would be only be five players on each side and rather than two halves there would be four 10-minute quarters with 20-minute breaks between each quarter for players to recover.
The offside rule would also be scrapped, which will be music to the ears for the many fans who can’t stand the tedious VAR checks to determine if a goal stands.
Lunar football would also be a ‘strictly no contact’ sport, although due to the lack of gravity any close control or sophisticated dribbling that we expect from the likes of Lionel Messi would be out of the question anyway.
Although much of IET’s rulebook is written in a tongue-in-cheek style, scientists really are preparing for human life on the moon and looking at typical activates that would or would not be possible there, from growing crops to having sex.
NASA’s early Artemis missions should lay the groundwork for bases on the moon later this decade (pictured is artist’s impression)
NASA is spending billions on efforts to get humans to the moon for the first time since the 1970s – but this time to stay there.
A key part of NASA’s Artemis programme is sending humans back to the lunar surface in 2025 – which would be the first time human boots have touched the moon since 1972.
Although this would only be a fleeting visit of around a week, it would lay the groundwork for building lunar bases by the late 2020s.
These would be complete with living quarters for long-term stays and research facilities for explorers to study the lunar rocks.
Eventually, the moon could be a thriving metropolis complete with hotels and other businesses for ‘space tourists’ paying thousands of dollars for a exclusive holiday.
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Howard Hu, Orion manager, told the BBC the launch was ‘historic for human space flight’ and an early step towards long-term deep space exploration.
After a series of failed launch attempts earlier in 2022, Artemis 1 took off on November 21 from the Kennedy Space Centre 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 to the lunar surface (Artemis 3) for the first time since 1972.