Space Image: Aflame

June 24, 2011
Image Credit: NASA

Fire acts differently in space than on Earth. Sandra Olson, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Glenn Research Center, demonstrates just how differently in her art. This artwork is comprised of multiple overlays of three separate microgravity flame images.

Each image is of flame spread over cellulose paper in a spacecraft ventilation flow in microgravity. The different colors represent different within the flame. The blue areas are caused by chemiluminescence (light produced by a chemical reaction.) The white, yellow and orange regions are due to glowing within the flame zone.

Microgravity combustion research at Glenn not only provides insights into spacecraft fire safety, but it has also been used to create award-winning art images. This image won first place in the 2011 Combustion Art Competition, held at the 7th U.S. National Combustion Meeting.

Explore further: USC engineers say solid particles may burn more safely and efficiently in space than gaseous fuels

Related Stories

Is it safe to breathe yet?

April 26, 2010

Anyone who has ridden behind a truck belching black exhaust knows the smell and discomfort caused by soot, the airborne carbon particles that result from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons such as diesel fuel. Those ...

UC San Diego engineers play role in warehouse fire safety

February 2, 2011

Imagine this: Firefighters enter a several football field-sized, 60-foot high, pitch-black warehouse and they can't see inside—they don't know if there is an inferno or a small fire with a lot of smoke. It's a very ...

Space image: Burning

May 26, 2011

( -- Because of the absence of gravity, fuels burning in space behave very differently than they do on Earth. In this image, a 3-millimeter diameter droplet of heptane fuel burns in microgravity, producing soot. ...

Recommended for you

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...

Researchers find a new way to weigh a star

October 5, 2015

Researchers from the University of Southampton have developed a new method for measuring the mass of pulsars – highly magnetised rotating neutron stars formed from the remains of massive stars after they explode into supernovae.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.