You may have seen the image dancing across your social media feeds: a thoroughly melted camera still clinging to a tripod mount. This doomed camera belongs to NASA photographer Bill Ingalls, who used it to capture Tuesday's SpaceX Falcon 9 launch.
A lot of people saw the image and the context and assumed the camera was too close to the launchpad and got burned by the awesome power of the Falcon 9 rocket. But Ingalls is an experienced NASA photographer, and he had set this particular shooter at a safe distance away from the rocket's fury.
What actually happened? The launch sparked a grass fire that engulfed the equipment. Ingalls describes the camera as "toasty," but the memory card survived. NASA shared a GIF of the fiery action on Friday.
The Falcon 9 launch successfully delivered twointo orbit. Ingalls' cooked camera wasn't the only one on duty that day. He had five others set up and all the rest survived, including four that were inside the launch site safety perimeter.
Ingalls' experience gives new meaning to the phrase "hot shots."