A new international space race is set to launch between astronauts from the United States, Brazil, France and India.
But instead of blasting off for the moon or Mars, the space explorers have traded in their rockets for minivans and are racing from Connecticut’s capital to Florida’s Space Coast.
Former space shuttle astronaut Jon McBride is hitting the road against Marcos Pontes, the first Brazilian astronaut; Jean-Loup Chretien, first Frenchman in space; and Rakesh Sharma, India’s first cosmonaut, in the 9th annual Fireball Run. Dubbed the “Space Race,” this year’s rally is an 8-day, 2,000-mile (3,200 km) trivia game, where the United States serves as the game board. [Giant Leaps: Biggest Milestones of Human Spaceflight]
Beginning Sunday (Sept. 27), the astronauts joined by celebrities, models, business owners and elected leaders will travel from Hartford, Connecticut, to Cocoa Beach, Florida, along the way answering trivia questions to reveal their next destination and an awaiting challenge they must complete to move on. The “Space Race” however, is not a road race the teams’ driving speed will be monitored by GPS and plotted online for all to follow.