Icy Rocket

22 01 2009

Here’s a place you never thought you’d see ice:  hanging off the nozzle of a lit rocket engine!

Click for movie!

Click for movie!

From Science@NASA editor, Dr. Tony Phillips…

NASA is using the Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine (“CECE” for short) to develop technologies for a next-generation lunar lander. CECE is fueled by a mixture of -297 F liquid oxygen and -423 F liquid hydrogen. The engine components are super-cooled to similar low temperatures–and that’s where the icicles come from. As CECE burns its frigid fuels, hot steam and other gases are propelled out the nozzle. The steam is cooled by the cold nozzle, condensing and eventually freezing to form icicles around the rim.

The movie is really neat with the icicles forming in real-time.

Also, I’ve updated the earlier post about the new Lunar Rover participating in the Inauguration Parade with video from the event.  There’s a moment when a fully-suited astronaut steps off the rover and salutes the President that just fills me with emotion.  It’s like an overwhelming feeling of hope.




2 responses

22 01 2009

That’s really cool! You’re right, that is the last place I’d expect to see icicles. At first I didn’t process that the temps were Fahrenheit (I’ve been doing a lot of Chem) and my first thought was, “Woah! Both of those are below absolute zero! When did NASA figure that one out!?”

4 02 2009

Truly stunning !!

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