NASA set fire in space (video)
The U.S. space agency is increasingly preparing for the first human mission to the moon in the 21st century. To this end, scientists have conducted an extremely important experiment with fire.
The experiment was conducted just a few days ago. It is called “Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinguishing (SoFIE)” and is dedicated to igniting a fire in space. In a controlled way, of course. Scientists admit to being very surprised by the course of this test. Astronaut Thomas Marshburn initiated the experiment in a special 100-liter combustion chamber called Combustion Integrated Rack, which is on board the Destiny laboratory module.
This project will expand our knowledge of fire propagation aboard manned capsules and ships. The chamber is equipped with a number of sensors that detect oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, smoke concentration and volume, and temperature. There are four cameras inside that show in real time the size and spread of the flames.
Scientists report that higher oxygen levels indicate the formation of more vigorous flames. This is similar on Earth, but not all the same. Although higher oxygen levels accelerate combustion, flames in space form and disperse very differently than on our planet’s surface.
This is due to the characteristics of microgravity. On Earth, cold air sinks and hot gases rise. In conditions of weightlessness, such processes do not occur, so the gases take a spherical shape. Of course, we are all the time talking about confined spaces, not about outer space itself, where there is a vacuum and no fire can erupt.
This type of research is expected to help NASA develop better systems to detect and extinguish fires in space, and to study how microgravity and limited oxygen content affect the size of a flame. If we are serious about manned missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, and asteroids, protecting astronauts from fires that can occur aboard ships during long missions is a high priority.