While some of us are just trying to get video of our cats on Roombas for YouTube, astronauts on the ISS are learning about the effects of microgravity on water by submerging a GoPro camera inside a huge water bubble and recording the results.
Although this video makes it look like a lot of fun, this was actually part of a scientific experiment. Not only were the crew studying the water's surface tension in space, but they also tested a new 3-D GoPro camera in the process, which recorded from inside a floating ball of water about the size of a softball.
The 3-D version of the video is available here, but note that you will need standard red-blue stereoscopic 3D vision glasses to see it in 3-D.
"Delivering images from these new and exciting locations is how we share our accomplishments with the world," says Rodney Grubbs from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
This latest video shows three astronauts having a lot of fun, all in the name of science. NASA astronauts Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman, along with ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst geek out like little kids as the water bubble floats in the air in front of them. See, kids, science is fun!
The new 3-D camera is more durable than other cameras recently sent to space, which often have issues with dead pixels due to the high amounts of radiation in space.
"Increased radiation is part of the space environment and, while the hull of the station protects the astronauts, small radiation particles can still penetrate," says Grubbs. "They may not do any detectable harm to the crew, but these same particles will damage the camera's sensors resulting in 'hot' or white pixels on the video."
Most cameras in space need replacing around every year, but this camera doesn't seem to have the same problems previous cameras had, mostly because of its 3-D capabilities: the way two images overlap in a 3-D image lessens the effects of dead pixels.
However, this camera also uses a different sensor, one that is less susceptible to radiation damage.
[Photo Credit: NASA's Marshall Center]