Featured Image for NASA photographer’s camera melts after capturing perfect shot of rocket launch

NASA photographer’s camera melts after capturing perfect shot of rocket launch

NASA has posted an official explanation for the popular “toasty” cam GIF that’s been circling the internet for almost a week now.

Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists out there but no, the space agency isn’t “covering up” any “secrets” for the Illuminati.

A GIF shows the last frames recorded by one of the cameras that covered the NASA/German GRACE-FO launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base last May 22.

The footage shows the camera melting away like Dali’s famous clock obscuring the launch of the rocket.


Curiously, the memory card was retrieved intact despite the camera turning into a mess of bubbling plastic. The camera was set up by veteran NASA photographer Bill Ingalls, who has been shooting for the space agency for about 30 years.

“I had six remotes, two outside the launch pad safety perimeter and four inside,” Ingalls told NASA’s official blog.

“Unfortunately, the launch started a grass fire that toasted one of the cameras outside the perimeter.”

The “toasty” cam was actually one of the furthest from the launching platform, placed some 400 metres away. All four cameras located inside the perimeter were undamaged.

Ingalls was greeted by a group of firefighters when he returned to retrieve his equipment. The seasoned photographer forced open the body and, to his surprise, found the memory card unharmed and functional.

The little blip won’t stop Ingalls from capturing NASA’s space efforts in the future, though. He will travel to Kazakhstan to photograph the June 3 landing of the International Space Station’s Expedition 55 crew.

As for the melted camera, it’s likely it will be displayed somewhere at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

About the author

Filmmaker. 3D artist. Procrastination guru. I spend most of my time doing VFX work for my upcoming film Servicios Públicos, a sci-fi dystopia about robots, overpopulated cities and tyrant states. @iampineros

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Comments (1)

    Purnima Tiwari

    Wednesday 30 May 2018

    It is nice to know anout NASA’S work and spreading awareness and some knowledge of our universe and our surrounding.