Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Burn baby burn. Today, we use water to put out fires. But what if we could use it for the opposite effect? Astronaut researchers on the International Space Station are experimenting with water that can start a fire. It’s called supercritical water and it might offer benefits such as clean-burning municipal waste disposal and improved saltwater purification.
Water becomes supercritical when it is compressed at 217 times the air pressure found at sea level and heated above 703.4 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, the water is not liquid, solid or gas – it’s more of a liquid-like gas. When this supercritical water mixes with organic material, oxidation occurs. The supercritical water burns the organic material, but without the pesky flames.
The burning process with this transformed water breaks down unwanted materials without the risk of dangerous byproducts. It’s mostly just carbon dioxide and water. Studying supercritical water in space without the complications of gravity, researchers can better understand how to use its burning properties and how to control leftover salt that can damage pipes and tanks. Check out the video, from ScienceAtNASA, above.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.