Say you are some future astronaut who was taken into space aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft. After a successful mission, you cram yourself back into the capsule and de-orbit back into Earth’s atmosphere. You turn back to look into the void. What do you see? Something like a color-changing sci-fi wormhole:
This footage comes from cameras aboard Orion as it reentered the atmosphere after a successful flight test on December 5th. Smashing back into our air at 20,000 miles per hour, Orion generated temperatures near 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The result was a trail of increasingly energetic plasma until Orion used its thrusters to orient itself and eventually slow itself down with parachutes.
No one was inside the spacecraft during this display, so it’s unclear if you’d actually be able to see this if you were inside. Still, we do know that astronauts see something pretty spectacular during reentry already. Here’s to hoping.
You can watch the full video of the Orion spacecraft’s reentry below: