NASA Discovers New Use For High Speed Photography

Camera phantom

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a video yesterday announcing its use of high speed photography to study and document rocket plume. This experiment will allow them to discover and observe minute elements of sending a man to space that are impossible to see with the naked eye and has never before been captured on film. ?I was amazed to see the ground support mirror bracket tumbling and the vortices shedding in the plume,? said Howard Conyers, a structural engineer on the developing team.

Researchers and scientists across the globe are finding exciting, new applications for high speed cameras and photography. Whether your object is too miniscule to capture with an average camera or too fast for average shutter speeds, using a high speed camera means that nothing escapes the scope of your lens. What better way to incorporate slow motions cameras than in the field of scientific study?

While the rocket science application is somewhat new, the technology behind a high speed camera is available now for researchers and scientists in other areas of expertise. One such Phantom Flex camera, the V1210, was developed specifically by the Department of Physics and Space Sciences at Florida Tech in order capture images at up to 12,600 frames per second and meet the needs for resolution, speed and light-sensitivity in research. An ultrahigh-speed camera, like the one developed by NASA, can capture images at over 100,000 frames per second with an exposure time of less than 50 microseconds. Thus, a high speed camera like this can be used in laboratory research to take pictures at a molecular level.

Many scientists and researchers are incorporating high speed photography into their research methods. In fact, biomechanics specialists credit high speed cameras with becoming an invaluable asset to their projects. While an average video camera will record at a rate of 18 frames per second, a high speed camera records thousands of frames per second. This means that the recorded video can be slowed down to such a point where the motions can be analyzed in minute detail. Other scientists report using slow motion cameras to document bat movements. Criminal scientists have used slow motion photography to analyze the physics behind blood splatters. Other research teams are even using an ultrahigh-speed camera to study and capture neurons firing. They believe their application of this technology will allow them to see and study combustion and biochemical reactions on a cellular level. As NASA has proven this week, the applications for a high speed camera in scientific research are truly endless!

What are some other applications for your high speed camera? Let us know in the comments below!

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