A NASA photographer was able to save a camera's memory card and watch the last moments before the device went up in flames while a launch was filmed at a California Air Force base.
Long-standing NASA photographer Bill Ingalls wanted to photograph the launch of Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on or GRACE-FO last Tuesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base and set up six cameras around the launch pad, the agency wrote in a blog post Friday
"I had six remote controls, two outside the launch pad safety and four inside," said Ingalls. "Unfortunately, the launch started a grass fire that trickled one of the cameras outside the perimeter."
The camera, which was a quarter of a mile from the launch pad, the farthest point away, was flamed by the fire, destroying the body of the device. Ingalls returned to the page, hoping that there would be a piece of the "toasty" camera to be rescued there.
The memory card not only survived the fire, but also absorbed the last moments of the flames approaching the area, slowing down the melting of the lens. NASA released the fiery material, which showed that the plastic case melted over the lens until it stops recording.
The four other cameras closest to the launch pad were undamaged. The other camera, which was outside the launch pad, was also not hit by the fire.
The molten NASA camera will likely be located at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. to be issued.