Are we making an action movie or scientific discoveries?
To prove there’s no limit to the number of cool things NASA can make, the organization recently revealed footage taken with its High Dynamic Range Stereo X camera, also known as HiDyRS-X. With an unprecedented level of detail, the camera captures a 17-story-tall rocket booster blasting a fireball of propellant.
Filming tests like the one in the three-minute clip below are important to ensure NASA can execute real launches successfully. Before creating the HiDyRS-X, camera operators had two equally disappointing options: either focus on the plume and leave the surrounding details in darkness, or expose the rest of the shot while the plume remains blindingly bright.
Luckily, the HiDyRS-X camera processes all of the detail in one clear, effortless shot by capturing multiple exposures at one time. The result? One epic video that looks like some combination of high-grade Hollywood CGI and heavy HDR filters.
Which spells the difference between this…
But the camera has features beyond just looking action-movie ready. According to The Verge, NASA has already used the camera to reveal hiccups in the current system. Apparently, the camera’s timer didn’t go off at the right moment and its power source was jerked loose from pressure created by the booster.
On the bright side, improvements are bound to spring from these malfunctions. "Failure during testing of the camera is the opportunity to get smarter," said structural dynamist Howard Conyers in a statement. "Without failure, technology and innovation is not possible."