This expanse of metal might not look much, but it's actually the NASA test facility that allows engine manufacturers to simulate flying through the upper atmosphere—and ensure engines don't fail when things get too cold.
The facility allows engineers to simulate conditions where large quantities of freezing particles are ingested by the engine, which can cause flame outs or a sudden loss of power. In fact, this picture shows John Wargo, lead technician at NASA Glenn's Propulsion System Laboratory, during testing of the Honeywell ALF 502 engine that was recently used for the NASA Engine Icing Validation test. All the data pouring out of these tests should help engineers develop engines that are safer—and perform better in extreme conditions. [NASA]
Image by NASA Bridget R. Caswell