Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Russia plans to hit a golf ball into Earth orbit from the International Space Station. If NASA approves the plan, the ball would set records for the longest drive ever made -- but some experts warn that a mishap could cause "catastrophic" damage to the station."
The plan is part of a commercial deal between the Russian space agency and Element 21 Golf Company, based in Toronto, Canada. In the plan, the station's next crew members, due to launch to the station on 29 March, will try for the record-breaking swing during one of three planned spacewalks by September 2006.

A gold-plated, six-iron golf club will be used to hit the ball, which is made out of the same scandium alloy used to build the station. After being hit from a special platform alongside the station, the ball is expected to orbit Earth for about four years, beaming its location to Earth-bound computers using global positioning transmitters. Eventually, the ball will lose altitude through atmospheric drag and burn up in the atmosphere.