Photos: Gravity experiments in space

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Microgravity tends to produce rounder, cooler flames

Source:  NASA-JSC

Microgravity tends to produce rounder, cooler flames

This shows the difference between combustion in normal gravity (left) and microgravity (right). Unlike on Earth, hot, less dense air does not rise in microgravity.

As a result, other processes, like the diffusion of particles from a high temperature to a low temperature area, dominate.

Studying combustion in space reveals more about the fundamental physics of the phenomenon and could help develop fire-suppression technology for future space missions.

 

The International Space Station may still be under construction, but microgravity research has been under way for decades. Here is a round-up of some of the most notable experiments.
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