Now this is absolutely cool!
In order to learn how fire spreads and behaves, scientists have created the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR), launched to the International Space Station in 2008. The CIR is a facility that allows combustion investigations in microgravity. The experiments so far have been related to fire safety in space and understanding fire combustion.
In their experiments, researchers have discovered that the flame on Earth is different from the flame in space. Thanks to a lower amount of gravitational force in space, flames tend to look spherical. It looks like those special powers or moves you have seen in anime, I know.
It’s also interesting to note how gravity affects fire. According to NASA, ‘on Earth, hot gasses from the flame rise while gravity pulls cooler, denser air to the bottom of the flame. This creates both the shape of the flame, as well as a flickering effect. In microgravity, this flow doesn’t occur. This reduces the variables in combustion experiments, making them simpler and creating spherical shaped flames.’
Image credit: NASA