Can Astronauts Play Table Tennis

The thought of space inspires thoughts of man’s ability to conquer the universe. Since man’s first mission to the moon, several expeditions to space have not slowed down. While we are stilling shooting for Mars, the International Space Station (ISS) boarded by a good number of an astronaut’s from different countries of the world has been in orbit for about 18 years. For 18 years, astronauts have lived in space, performing high-tech experiments and studying our universe at large. 

Life in space is nothing short of a magical experience. Living in space is very different from living on Earth. Astronaut’s get to live a life that contrasts the way of life they were used to on Earth. However, with a lot of training on Earth, Astronauts have adapted to this life and have been able to live complete lives in space. Of course, astronauts eat, go to the toilet and pay attention to their hygiene. Though they may not follow conventional Earth methods, they do all these things. The same goes for our topic of interest in this article. 

This is a very tricky question, no thanks to the concept and reality of micro-gravity. Also called ping-pong, the table tennis is a fast-paced game that circles around hitting a ball with a bat as you bend its movement in Earth’s space. It involves directing the ball under the influence of gravity.

The swirl, whoosh, ping and pong experience is completely impossible without the influence of a gravitational pull on the ball. However, the near absence of gravity does not still dictate that man cannot play table tennis in space. In 2016, Astronaut Scot Kelly was filmed in outer space playing with water goblets in space. Astronauts can play table tennis in outer space. To do this, they need special equipment that differs from what we use on Earth.

When it comes to playing table tennis in outer space or even on Earth, picking the right equipment is paramount. Like said earlier on, Astronauts require special equipment that differs from what we have on Earth.


Water Droplet: since objects float around in space, it could be dangerous for solid matter to float into certain parts of the spaceship. To curb this limitation, it is best to use water droplets as our improvised ball because they are less likely to cause damage to the ship. They do not give the same adrenaline ‘whoosh and swirl’ drive, but they do the job just fine.
Hydrophobic Paddles: these bat-shaped paddles repel water goblets allowing the Astronaut to hit the water goblet (improvised ball) in the direction he chooses. These paddles are light, handheld and fit comfortably in the hands. A very good improvisation for the normal bats.

Table: it is not table tennis without a table. Choosing a table depends on so many factors including space, use, and portability. All these factors come into play while selecting a table for table tennis in outer space. For more information on what table to choose, Astronauts could check this site for help: