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Giant Water Bubble Engulfs Video Camera On Space Station, With Hilarious Results

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Posted November 10, 2014

What does the view look like from inside a water bubble? Earlier this year, astronauts on the International Space Station completely submersed a GoPro video recorder inside liquid and filmed the view — which is quite amusing.

Expedition 40 commander Steve Swanson (left) and Reid Wiseman view a water bubble surrounding a video camera on the International Space Station in summer 2014. Credit: NASA/YouTube (screenshot)

Expedition 40 commander Steve Swanson (left) and Reid Wiseman view a water bubble surrounding a video camera on the International Space Station in summer 2014. Credit: NASA/YouTube (screenshot)

Look below for some distorted views of then-Expedition 40 astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst … and an awesome 3-D video besides!

 

NASA’s goal in tasking the astronauts with this is to better understand how water behaves in space. (It’s actually quite a serious matter, as a lack of understanding of the physics was one factor leading to a dangerous water leak during a spacewalk in 2013.) In this case, the astronauts were looking at how surface tension works in microgravity.

As for that 3-D video, the agency says it is going to offer more of these from space as it gets people even closer to actually being there. Here’s a neat phenomenon: typically the higher radiation levels in space damage video cameras to the extent where they need to be replaced every 8-12 months.

Expedition 40 astronauts Reid Wiseman (left) and Alexander Gerst as viewed in a water bubble surrounding a video camera on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/YouTube (screenshot)

Expedition 40 astronauts Reid Wiseman (left) and Alexander Gerst as viewed in a water bubble surrounding a video camera on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/YouTube (screenshot)

A 3-D camera sent up in 2011, however, had virtually no dead pixels in the images, prompting NASA to investigate. Officials requested the camera come back to Earth on a Dragon splashdown in 2012. That’s when they discovered the way the 3-D camera is structured — with stereo images layered on top of each other — lessens the appearance of any damage.

But there’s also less damage in the first place, NASA said, because the 3-D camera doesn’t use charge-coupled imaging sensors that are susceptible to radiation. The newer system uses a metal-oxide semiconductor sensor, which doesn’t get hurt as badly. We guess that’s more argument for bringing 3-D images from the final frontier.

Source: NASA via Universe Today, written by Elizabeth Howell

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