A thousand points of light – on the International Space Station

Friday, August 14, 2020 - 11:20 in Physics & Chemistry

Most of the energy and power used on Earth comes from burning fossil fuels. Combustion sparked the industrial revolution, and today it provides us with reliable power, clean water, a stable food supply and a whole lot more. Unfortunately, one downside of all that progress is pollution, which leads to climate change. To help address this problem, investigators for NASA’s Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME) are studying the properties of flames in the apparent weightlessness of the International Space Station (ISS). Over 1,000 flames have been ignited for the first five ACME experiments. What researchers learn from these thousand points of light could improve the use of combustion on Earth. Astronaut David St. Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency works on the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) used in the ACME Flames Project. “Over 85 percent of the world’s energy comes from burning things,” said professor Richard Axelbaum, an ACME investigator. “Fossil fuels...

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