With a wide range of technology and resources at its disposal, every so often NASA puts out a video that not only stuns the senses but also recall the wondrous delights of the universe. From spectacular visions of northern and southern lights from space, through a time lapse of a year on Earth from a million miles away, to a view of the sun that humans can can never have, NASA is able to create extraordinary sights.
This, despite the fact that NASA frequently faces budget cuts. (Maybe these videos are a way to drum up some popular support and reignite interest in space research.)
The latest video to come from the space agency uses high-definition slow motion cameras to provide a new twist to footage that can be seen and is commonly associated with space travel – the burst of fire from a rocket before it takes off.
The camera that NASA has developed to take this footage can record video within a higher dynamic range that ever before. Unlike normal cameras, which take photographs in a single exposure, this camera shoots at different exposures and than uses lower exposures for the over-exposed parts and higher exposures for the darker parts to make a final image with the perfect exposure.
This allows the flames that come from the rocket to be broken down and analysed at a much closer level than the usual overexposed images do.
According to the organisation, this technology will be beneficial for "future deep space missions, for the development of propulsions systems and launching facilities, and for use on planetary rovers. This is due to the fact that high-speed, HDR imagery can help obtain critical data that are typically lost with traditional digital cameras due to saturation and the inability to offboard data."
To the causal observer, the flames from the video above, shot during a recent test of a booster, make for out of these world visuals. Come to think of it, that's a correct description.
The test of the camera wasn't a complete success, though. Verge reported that the camera's auto timer failed to go off and the pressure from the booster knocked the the power source loose. Imagine what we'll get when there are no snags.