Astronaut’s Vine Shows What Fire Looks Like In Space

Astronaut Reid Wiseman gives us a glimpse into NASA experiments to find out how fire behaves in zero gravity.

1. This is a vine from astronaut Reid Wiseman, who’s aboard the International Space Station right now. It shows a floating sphere of fire in space.

The flame was sparked using a small drop of ethanol or heptane, a fuel, which then burns as a floating ball for up to 20 seconds.

It’s all part of a series of experiments to observe how fire behaves in space and see if there are things this can show us that will be of use back on Earth, through the research of new liquid fuels.

The NASA Flame Extinguishment Experiment is designed to investigate the best way to put out a fire and what “fire suppressant” materials work better than others. One of the biggest threats to crews aboard the space station is open flames.

Fire burns at a lower temperature and with less oxygen in space.

Nasa says: “The most surprising discovery is the apparent continued ‘burning’ of heptane droplets after flame extinction under certain conditions, a unique observation with significant implications.”

2. Wiseman has been posting some incredible Vines including this, which is thought to be the first vine filmed and uploaded in space.

3. He’s filmed the Aurora Borealis.

5. And lightning storms over Houston.

6. Reid is also posting some amazing pictures from the ISS on Twitter.

Thousands of miles of red dunes.

— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid)

Sunrise slowly creeps up on a dark night in central USA.

— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid)

Trying for Tokyo under clouds through a 400mm lens. #Difficult - Can anyone confirm success?

— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid)

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Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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