Video camera technology has proven to be an invaluable research tool, allowing scientists to record experiments to study later in detail. Even so, the technology isn't perfect when trying to film something very bright, like a rocket plume.
To combat this problem, NASA developed the High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS-X) project, an ultra high-speed, high dynamic-range camera that can film rocket tests in unprecedented detail. In the video above, you can see it being used to film the test of the Qualification Motor 2 at a facility in Utah.
The footage above, when slowed down, showed the team several things they had never seen before. "I was able to clearly see the exhaust plume, nozzle and the nozzle fabric go through its gimbaling patterns, which is an expected condition, but usually unobservable in slow motion or normal playback rates," said NASA structural dynamist Howard Conyers.
Testing of the camera will continue, while NASA constructs a second camera with an even higher dynamic range.