Sure being an astronaut is hazardous and lonely and often stressful, but damn if Scott Kelly isn’t making it look fun.
When NASA recently tasked him with testing out their new RED Epic Dragon (real name) HD camera aboard the International Space Station, he turned it into a demonstration that might have come from your fun high-school chemistry teacher.
A video shows Kelly mucking about with a simple floating ball of water, which, in space, is amazing enough on its own. Then he starts to change the color of the ball like some magic trick by injecting it with dye from a dropper. Once it has changed from a clear glob of water to a green space ooze, Kelly tosses a fizzing antacid tablet into it, causing bubbles to spark off edges of the undulating sphere, and pockets of gas to form inside of it.
Again, this was all in service of the new Epic Dragon camera, which NASA says can provide six times the detail that other cameras on the ISS have been able to achieve. First delivered in January of 2015 (thanks SpaceX), the camera is in fact the same model Peter Jackson used to film The Hobbit movies, providing a clarity and depth that many people found a little too real. And it seems to work just fine up in space, as tiny particles of water can be seen floating off towards the walls as they explode from the antacid bubbles.
NASA hopes that the hi-def camera can provide both unparalleled views of life on the space station and a clarity to operations in space that will allow ground support to better understand what is happening. As NASA puts it:
The camera’s ability to record at a high resolution as well as up to 300 frames per second made it the ideal recording device to capture dynamic events like vehicle operations near the station, such as docking and undocking. The higher resolution images and higher frame rate videos can reveal more information when used on science investigations, giving researchers a valuable new tool aboard the space station.
But for us stuck on Earth, it’s more of an awesome Hobbit camera for recording space hijinks. See more HD fun with space bubbles below.