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Nikon Makes Particular Firmware for Astronauts to Block Galactic Cosmic Rays in Images

Nikon Makes Particular Firmware for Astronauts to Block Galactic Cosmic Rays in Images

2023-12-08 04:31:43

Cosmic Rays Nikon

Area journey requires devices made on Earth to be specifically tailored to the cruel extra-terrestrial world — and that features tweaking a digicam’s software program.

In an unique interview with PetaPixel, astronaut Don Pettit reveals the adjustments that Nikon makes to its firmware particularly for NASA.

Galactic cosmic rays are high-energy particles that originate from outdoors the photo voltaic system that probably come from explosive occasions corresponding to a supernova. They’re dangerous information for cameras in house — damaging the sensor and spoiling images — so Nikon made particular firmware for NASA to restrict the hurt.

Pettit tells PetaPixel that Nikon modified the in-camera noise discount settings to battle the cosmic rays — noise is undesirable texture and blur on images.

Regular cameras have in-camera noise discount for exposures equal to or longer than one second. It’s because digicam producers don’t assume photographers want noise discount for shorter exposures as a result of there’s no noise to scale back. However in house, that’s not true.

“Our cameras in house get sensor harm from galactic cosmic rays and after about six months we change all of the cameras however you continue to have cameras with important cosmic ray harm,” explains Pettit.

“It reveals up at quick shutter speeds, not simply the sluggish ones. So we acquired Nikon to alter the algorithm in order that it may well do in-camera noise discount at shutter speeds of as much as five hundredth of a second.”

Pettit says Nikon’s in-camera noise discount “does wonders” for eliminating the cosmic ray harm and that “attempting to do away with it after the very fact is actually tough.”

Lightning Bugs by Don Pettit; a photograph he shot onboard the ISS in 2012.

That’s not the one particular firmware characteristic that Nikon makes for NASA; photographers who shoot sufficient images know that the file naming system resets itself finally which isn’t any good for the house company’s astronauts.

“The file naming system on a typical digital system will repeat now and again and we are able to’t have two footage with the identical quantity,” explains Pettit.

“We’ll take half 1,000,000 footage with the crew on orbit and so Nikon has modified the best way the RAW information are numbered in order that there will probably be no two with the identical file quantity.”

NASA is a Nikon Area Company

Though NASA famously used Hasselblads during the Apollo era, it started utilizing Nikon movie cameras, just like the F3, shortly afterward and has stayed with the Japanese producer ever since; partially as a result of Nikon is so good at making customized modifications that assist the astronauts.

Pettit reveals that onboard the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) the crew has “12 to fifteen” Nikon D5s

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“After which a complete slew of lenses, the FX lenses from the 8mm fisheye — which is considered one of my favorites — to 14mm all the best way as much as a primary 1200mm lens,” he provides.

“We’re within the technique of switching over to the Z9 and we’re going to slowly change the lenses with the Z lenses, initially changing the lenses that require the mechanical autofocus.

“The D-series cameras have a little bit mechanical drive system that drives the main target mechanism in loads of the sooner autofocus lenses and people are going to be the primary candidates to get replaced with the Z lenses.”

Pettit is a veteran of three spaceflights and stays an lively astronaut at 68 years outdated. He’s additionally an achieved astrophotographer identified for unimaginable photos he took whereas onboard the ISS.

Don Pettit surrounded by cameras
A well-known photograph of Don Pettit on Expedition 30/31 in 2011 surrounded by Nikon D3s in microgravity.

Pettit lately spoke with PetaPixel about capturing a “lucky shot” of a plane passing in front of the Sun as he was taking images of the photo voltaic disk from Earth.

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