Wallpaper Wednesday

13 07 2011

Aflame. Image credit: NASA

Sandra Olson, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, uses her art to demonstrate the effects of gravity on fire. In the image above, she’s created multiple layers of three images of flames produced in microgravity environments.  The different colors are caused by different chemical reactions: the blue is produced by chemiluminescence, while the yellow, orange and white are caused by ‘glowing soot.’ Olson’s photo won first place at the 2011 Combustion Art Competition, held at the 7th U.S. National Combustion Meeting. However, this image is more than pretty—the real purpose of microgravity combustion research is to ensure fire safety during spaceflight.