A NASA camera was overrun by flames as it shot a recent launch, but its photos survived to show its fiery last moments. Because even though the Falcon 9 didn't directly toast the camera, the launch did start a fire in the area, and this is what came upon and ultimately melted the hapless camera as it sat a quarter mile away from the launchpad. It kept taking pictures until the very end. Footage released by NASA shows several frames of smoke rising from the launch site before orange flames begin to singe nearby vegetation and creep toward the camera. He quickly realized the camera was destroyed and forced open the camera to see if the memory card could be salvaged, according to NASA.com. Most people assumed it must've been set up too close to the launch site, but that's not what happened.
The launch went off without a glitch, but a fire sparked by the launch destroyed a camera which belonged to NASA photographer Bill Ingalls. As you can see in the photo below, the camera was effectively surrounded by a fire hazard. But the memory card was still intact. The body started to melt.
Ironically, the four cameras set up inside the perimeter were undamaged, as was the other remote, NASA said. It could, which is how we can see the fire approaching the camera.
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Meanwhile, Mr Ingalls himself will soon travel to Kazakhstan to photograph the June 3 landing of the International Space Station's Expedition 55 crew. From the post-fire picture above it looks like the plastic that forms the exterior of the lens assembly melted, and the lens itself may have succumbed as well.
If you're planning to watch a rocket launch this summer (and I highly suggest you do), keep in mind to bring plenty of snacks, a book, and flame-resistant clothing.