Fireballs in space: Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
Video (below) shows a droplet of liquid fuel ignited in microgravity conditions
This is what a fireball looks like in space: first there’s ignition, and then a miniature sun blossoms in mid-air. It flares for a second and then fades away, exiting stage-left in a series of pulse like a ghostly jellyfish.
This amazing footage was captured by astronaut Reid Wiseman and as part of Nasa’s ongoing 'Flame Extinguishment Experiment' - a project dedicated to examining the behaviour of flames in microgravity in order to find better ways to extinguish fires in space.
Wiseman, who is also responsible for the first Vine from space, posted the clip three days ago with the caption - "Forgot to thank @ISS_Research for this amazing video - floating sphere of fire comes alive in FLEX-2.”
The fireball itself was created by igniting a small drop of ethanol or heptane in the microgravity of the ISS. While flames on Earth form vertical shapes thanks to the upward pull of hot air, the lack of gravity in orbit around the planet means that fire naturally becomes dome-shaped or spherical.
Although these flames look tranquil when compared to their flickering, Earth-bound cousins,they're actually much more dangerous - not simply due to their location but also because they survive for longer with less oxygen and are resistant to gas-based extinguishers.
Nasa's research is not only looking for safer ways to put out fires in space, it's also hoping that observations made onboard the ISS will eventually help engineers here on Earth - especially insights into so-called "cool flames" - fires that burn at lower temperatures producing fewer air pollutants.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Bali Nine executions in Indonesia: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Bridgend based software de...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...
£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Haulage company based on the Thorpe Indu...