NASA Gives Details On What Camera Hardware Hides Under The Crazy Looking Photo Rigs Astronauts Use

We have talked about some of the high-end camera gear that astronauts take into space with them for shooting photos. The last time I mentioned cameras in space was when an Italian astronaut had to let a bunch of his camera gear burn up on re-entry. I thought that none of the camera gear came back to earth once it went into space, but apparently, some of NASAs gear does.

The folks over at PopPhoto were curious about the photo you see here of astronaut Rex Walheim using a fancy camera rig in training for STS-135. I have seen photos of the astronauts using these odd white clad cameras before and wondered what they were. Apparently, under the white thermal blankets the gear is slightly modified version of the cameras you could go buy right now. The enclosure over the Nikon SB-800 flash is to keep air-pressure inside so the flash will function property.

The thermal blanketing is to keep the touch temperatures more stable in the harsh climate of space. The bit on top of the camera that sort of looks like an additional viewfinder is a Nikon SB-29 sync cord that is needed for the autofocus to work in low light. The camera is a slightly modified Nikon D2X with a different firmware and lubricant to survive in space. The cameras are returned to earth as needed and inspected and could go up again if they pass inspection. Apparently, the radiation in space tends to mess the cameras up.

[via PopPhoto]