Giant Water Bubble Engulfs Video Camera On Space Station, With Hilarious Results

What does the view look like from inside a water bubble? Earlier this year, astronauts on the International Space Station completely submersed a GoPro video recorder inside liquid and filmed the view — which is quite amusing.

Look below for some distorted views of then-Expedition 40 astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst … and an awesome 3-D video besides!

NASA’s goal in tasking the astronauts with this is to better understand how water behaves in space. (It’s actually quite a serious matter, as a lack of understanding of the physics was one factor leading to a dangerous water leak during a spacewalk in 2013.) In this case, the astronauts were looking at how surface tension works in microgravity.

As for that 3-D video, the agency says it is going to offer more of these from space as it gets people even closer to actually being there. Here’s a neat phenomenon: typically the higher radiation levels in space damage video cameras to the extent where they need to be replaced every 8-12 months.

A 3-D camera sent up in 2011, however, had virtually no dead pixels in the images, prompting NASA to investigate. Officials requested the camera come back to Earth on a Dragon splashdown in 2012. That’s when they discovered the way the 3-D camera is structured — with stereo images layered on top of each other — lessens the appearance of any damage.

But there’s also less damage in the first place, NASA said, because the 3-D camera doesn’t use charge-coupled imaging sensors that are susceptible to radiation. The newer system uses a metal-oxide semiconductor sensor, which doesn’t get hurt as badly. We guess that’s more argument for bringing 3-D images from the final frontier.

Source: NASA

Expedition 40 commander Steve Swanson (left) and Reid Wiseman view a water bubble surrounding a video camera on the International Space Station in summer 2014. Credit: NASA/YouTube (screenshot)
Expedition 40 commander Steve Swanson (left) and Reid Wiseman view a water bubble surrounding a video camera on the International Space Station in summer 2014. Credit: NASA/YouTube (screenshot)

This Is What It Looks Like to Freefall From Space


Remember BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner’s incredible freefall from the “edge of space” in October 2012? The highly anticipated (and highly publicized) Red Bull-sponsored stunt was watched live by viewers around the world (including me — it was very cool!) and set new records for highest jump, fastest freefall, and highest balloon-powered human flight. That day Baumgartner even broke the long-standing record held by his mentor Col. Joe Kittinger, who jumped from 102,800 feet in August 1960… and with seven GoPro Hero2 cameras mounted to Felix’s high-tech suit and helmet, you can see what he saw during every one of the 127,852 feet that he fell down to Earth.

(That’s ah, over 24 miles/39 km. *Gulp.*)

The video above was released today by GoPro, and is a more polished and edited version than the one released by Red Bull this past October. Check it out above, or for full vertigo-inducing* freefall effect watch it in fullscreen HD on YouTube. *Consider yourself warned!

HT to Robert Gonzalez at io9