NASA sets fire to stuff in SPAAACE. On purpose. Because science

Saffire II experiment data revealed in all its inflammatory glory

An astronaut sits alone on a rocky surface of another planet. Photo by SHutterstock

VIDEOS NASA's released the videos of its Saffire II experiment, in which the space agency borrowed the Mythbuster's incendiary habits and burned stuff in space.

It's all in the name of science, naturally: as we noted on Monday, the agency wants to know how things burn in low gravity, so they can work on better fire control techniques.

This week's experiment followed on from the first Saffire experiment in June.

Once the Cygnus module was released from the International Space Station to burn up in the atmosphere, the NASA scientists set the cameras running and set fire to nine different materials.

Those included a film of plexiglass, which in turn set fire to the flame-retardant Nomex; and a window-thickness sheet of plexiglass. There were also four samples of silicon at different thicknesses; and two samples of the cotton-fibreglass blend that was also used in Saffire I.

Here's what it looks like once you set fire to Normex in space:

Youtube Video

And here's Sample 9 – plexiglass at window-thickness:

Youtube Video

The mission team is still downlinking videos and thousands of images, something they need to complete before the Cygnus module hits the atmosphere. ®

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