We know how flames behave on Earth, thanks to our use of fire for thousands of years. But how it would behave in microgravity in space remains a puzzle. Understanding its behavior in space is crucial for 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 cooler, denser air downward, and hot gases from the flame rise above it. This creates both the flame shape and the flickering effect.
Additionally, it is possible that a change in gravity will alter the way the fire spreads. Microgravity can even make it harder to extinguish. NASA has studied 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 safe chamber. But the agency is set to launch a mission on Saturday that will help scientists improve fire safety on lunar and Mars missions.
In a recent Instagram update, the agency shared an image of the flames appearing. “Learning how flames flicker in the space station’s unique microgravity environment helps scientists develop cleaner combustion engines on Earth and design safer spacecraft for our future journeys to the Moon and Mars,” said 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 a cargo ship, scheduled to launch at 12:39 p.m. EST (11:09 p.m. IST) on Saturday, will carry SoFIE, or Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction, to the station, which will help scientists continue to study the behavior. flames. in microgravity.
Although the goal of SoFIE is to study fire safety measures in space, scientists hope to use data from the experiment to improve fire safety on Earth.