This is what a fireball in space looks like

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 9:22am
Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor

This mission on the International Space Station has been full of social media adventures, including the very first Space Vine! (Full disclosue: I coined the term Space Vine! and you probably won't see it anywhere else.)  Reid Wiseman is an American astronaut and naval aviator currently serving on Expedition 41 in the ISS. He is also responsible for posting some really interesting tweets and Vines that are offering visuals of space activities and sites previously available only to actual astronauts.

Obviously a large part of the mission of the ISS is to conduct experiments that allow for improved technology in space and on Earth. These experiments range from growing food to testing new suits and animal enclosures. They are primarily science-based, including the Flame Extinguishment Experiment (FLEX), which is designed to test the effectiveness of flame suppressants in space. This mission is currently conducting FLEX-2, which will specifically look into burning fuel droplets and space and how quickly fuel burns in space, the habits of soot in space, and how various mixtures evaporate. This information will be useful in creating a safer spacecraft, but could also be beneficial to utilizing liquid fuel in engines on Earth. It's particularly interesting since it would be impossible to recreate a drop of fuel burning in a perfect sphere without the unique environment in space. The goal is to utilize these techniques to create cleaner, more efficient mixtures of chemicals that produce less soot and could be the future of fuel.

 Last Friday, Wiseman sent out a Vine of a floating sphere of fire created as part of the experiment.


It's pretty interesting to consider that we could be witnessing a video that could change the world of fuel as we (on Earth) know it. But Wiseman is also putting up some other killer vines, including one of the Aurora Borealis and a crazy fisheye timlapse as the ISS passes over Europe and Asia. I would like to be best friends with this guy, please. Keep an eye out on his Vine for more killer videos.


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