NASA shows how flames appear and behave in microgravity

Deepak Gupta February 19, 2022
Updated 2022/02/19 at 12:48 PM

We know how flames behave on Earth, thanks to the use of fire for thousands of years. But how it would behave in microgravity in space is still a puzzle. Understanding their behavior in space is crucial to the safety of astronomers on future space missions. In space, reduced gravity creates flames that look different. Flames in microgravity tend to appear spherical. On Earth, however, gravity pulls the cooler, denser air down, and the hot gases from the flame rise above. This creates both the flame shape and the flickering effect.

In addition, there is a possibility that a change in gravity could alter the way fire spreads. Microgravity may even make extinction difficult. NASA has been studying this behavior through its Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME). Astronauts recently completed the project after lighting more than 1,500 fires on the International Space Station – in a specially designed, secure chamber. But the agency is expected to launch a mission on Saturday that will help scientists improve fire safety on missions to the Moon and Mars.

In a recent Instagram update, the agency shared an image of how the flames appeared. “Learning how flames flicker in the space station’s unique microgravity environment is helping scientists to develop cleaner combustion engines on Earth – and design safer spacecraft for our future trips to the Moon and Mars,” he said in the caption.

NASA said the photo above is a composite image using data from nine different tests from ACME’s Flame Design experiment. He also said that a cargo ship, scheduled to launch at 12:39 pm EST (11:09 pm IST) on Saturday, will bring SoFIE, or Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction, to the station, which will help scientists continue to study the behavior of the flames. . in microgravity.

While SoFIE’s goal is to study fire safety measures in space, the scientists hope to use the data from the experiment to improve fire safety on Earth.


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