NASA "Plays" with fire in Space


A “Large Fire” is planned to be made inside a space capsule by the space agency to discover exactly how flames spread in a microgravity environment.
It sure does sound like a crazy bad idea for any astronaut to do this (We’ve all seen those movies), however, NASA is preparing the initial set of tests in a sequence of controlled experiments to set things on fire beginning next week. 
The space agency is going to deliberately set an orbiting capsule alight in order to study the way flames spread in a microgravity environment.
One of the Cygnus supply vehicles will be launched from the ISS carrying a sealed box of cotton fibreglass. Once the capsule is a "safe distance" from the space station, the box will be exploded.
Scientists at NASA will use it as a way to make their crafts safer for long-distance travel, which includes the dangerous flight to Mars.
NASA says the fire will be larger than any previous tests conducted. In fact, all previous fire-related tests have been carried out by astronauts on manned missions - and have been much smaller in scope.
"A spacecraft fire is one of the greatest crew safety concerns for NASA and the international space exploration community," said Gary Ruff, project manager for the tests which have been named 'Saffire'.
The experiment itself will only take a few hours, however the Cygnus capsule will remain in orbit for 7 days in which the data will be sent back to NASA headquarters.
Towards the latter end of 2016, the agency will launch another fire test that will include a mix of materials ordinarily used on the space station. This will also consist of the flame-resistant fabrics used for astronaut clothing.
"(This experiment) seeks to answer two questions: will an upward spreading flame continue to grow or will microgravity limit the size?" said the space agency.
"Secondly, what fabrics and materials will catch fire and how will they burn?"
The results of the tests will help make future spaceships safer for the astronauts on board.