This image shows a scale model of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket undergoing testing inside the administration’s wind tunnel at the Langley Research Centre in Virginia, US.
The model, less than 1% the size of the real thing, has been coated in a special pink pressure-sensitive paint. When exposed to oxygen in a high-pressure airflow, the paint glows bright crimson, allowing researchers, such as aerospace engineer Courtney Winski, shown here, to study how the real rocket will behave at launch.
The Space Launch System is being prepped for NASA’s mooted next series of missions to the moon. The first test flight, dubbed Exploration Mission-1, is slated for 2020.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.