NASA rocket turns desert sand into glass during test launch for a mission to the moon

Sanjana Varghese
Friday 04 September 2020 11:00

On Wednesday, a NASA rocket inadvertently turned sand from the desert into glass.

The Space Launch System rocket will hopefully travel to the moon – and it’s an important test for future Artemis missions. NASA is hoping that these rockets can set off in 2024.

This booster that supports the SLS is called the Flight Support Booster (FSB-1). The SLS boosters are the largest, most powerful boosters “ever built for flight”, and each motor segment weighs 300, 000 pounds. The exhaust from these tests is so hot that it turns sand from the desert into glass.

Video of the whole event can be found on NASA’s Youtube channel, which shows the booster on its side in Promontory, in Utah.

When the test starts, a huge burst of flame can be seen coming out of the booster, creating billowing clouds of smoke and fire that stretch past the view of the camera. This carries on for over two minutes.

Data gathered during this test will be used to refine the Artemis 1 Spacecraft, which will send an Orion capsule around the moon at the end of 2021. NASA is hoping that the Artemis mission will lead to the first man and woman landing on the Moon, and then use the knowledge gathered there to send astronauts to Mars.

The agency will hopefully be able to do two flights around the moon, and send Artemis II to the moon after Artemis I if everything goes according to plan.