Spheres of Flame are One of the Surreal Wonders of Living in Orbit

Flame, in microgravity. Reid Wiseman sends home the best Vines from Space.

We've written before about how and why flame abandons its flickering familiar shape for a sphere on the International Space Station. It seems the experiments aren't over, as astronaut and provider of six-second loops of incredible views from the station Reid Wiseman sent home footage of the second-generation Flame Extinguishing experiment.


According to the project description by NASA:

The Flame Extinguishment - 2 (FLEX-2) experiment is the second experiment to fly on the ISS which uses small droplets of fuel to study the special spherical characteristics of burning fuel droplets in space. The FLEX-2 experiment studies how quickly fuel burns, the conditions required for soot to form, and how mixtures of fuels evaporate before burning. Understanding these processes could lead to the production of a safer spacecraft as well as increased fuel efficiency for engines using liquid fuel on Earth.

Cool, sounds like it'll be interesting science. But even if the experiment is a dud, the footage is hypnotizing. Thanks, Reid! Here's the full clip:


I don't know about you, but to me the flame looks just like a mobile space jellyfish, scooting across a starry sea.

Need more clips of astronomical wonder? Reid Wiseman's previous Vines from space include an eternal day, lightning, and aurora. Oooh, pretty!



I sincerely hope the CGI effects gurus take heed to make space battles more spectacular and yet more realistic.