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# orbital table tennis

table tennis in null gravity
 (+5, -2) [vote for, against]

Game to be played inside a sphere approximately 50' in diameter. Table surface held in place by magnets so that there are no legs nor mooring lines to hold it in place. Both table surfaces have nets. "Off the wall" is good. Ball must land on opponent's side of table before ceasing to bounce. Great test of player's ability to control flight of ball with spin. Sponge rubber recommended on the surface of the racquets in order to maximize spin.
 — Garboon, Jan 18 2006

Um...welcome to the halfbakery?
 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Sep 09 2007

 So, you serve the ball. It bounces on the near side of the net. Then, in the absence of gravity, it heads off towards the wall, and you hope that the angle of reflection will bring it back to the table on the far side of the net, but it has to travel about 50' (round trip) to get there. This gives your opponent a generous interval in which to position himself for a smash directly on to your side of the net.

My questions:
1. Does your opponent then win the point if the ball hits the wall before you return it? (If so, how could you stop that, given the conditions described above and, if not, how does he win the point?)
2. How do the players move around the playing area and are there any restrictions on where they can go?
3. When would the ball ever cease to bounce?
 — pertinax, Sep 11 2007

 //how does he win the point?//

 Presumably, the ball has to hit the other player's side 2 times or has to bounce against the wall after hitting that side once before a point is scored. Perhaps a set of bumpers could float above and below the table for this purpose.

 //How do the players move around the playing area...?//

 Perhaps by bouncing off of the walls or by using a personal jetpack.

 //...are there any restrictions on where they can go?//

 ??? Are there any [Garboon]?

 //When would the ball ever cease to bounce?//

Never, due to brownian motion and air currents the ball would bounce forever, or at least for a much longer time than it takes to play the game.
 — quantum_flux, Sep 16 2007

can you follow the ball around blowing air to affect it, even if it's not your turn?
 — GutPunchLullabies, Sep 17 2007

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