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NASA has a ball with Super Bowl tie-ins

Space and football can cross paths in unexpected ways.


A football floats on the International Space Station.


The folks at NASA enjoy football just as much as anyone. They just look at it a little differently. 

NASA found ways to meld sports and science for Sunday's Super Bowl 53 game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.

For example, NASA shared an eye-opening visualization of the immensity of the International Space Station: It's roughly the size a football field. 

It would take 17 of the under-construction James Webb Space Telescope mirrors to reach across that same field.

NASA's Johnson Space Center recruited astronauts Reid Wiseman and Megan McArthur to show us how to make "space queso" using cheese spread, black beans, corn and rehydrated vegetarian chili, just like the International Space Station crew would prepare it.

We also learned you can fit 4,625 footballs into the NASA Orion crew module, the space agency's next-gen transportation capsule for astronauts.

While many of us were watching only a TV screen during the game, the ISS crew also witnessed multiple sunrises and sunsets.

Retired NASA astronaut twins Scott Kelly and Mark Kelly appeared in an Amazon Alexa Super Bowl ad. NASA jumped on the opportunity to direct interested NFL fans to more information about the ISS.

One of NASA's most creative Super Bowl tie-ins happened when it posted Hubble Space Telescope images featuring the rival teams' colors.

The Patriots got a supernova, while the Rams got a nebula. 

One aspect of the game that NASA didn't comment on was the Patriots' victory. We'll leave that job up to the Twitter memesters.