Did you know that in order to cut down on cargo weight, astronauts sometimes leave behind cameras to burn up upon re-entry? Me neither. A few days ago we showed you this photograph taken by astronaut Paolo Nespoli. While he saved the memory card, the Nikon D3x and 24-120mm lens were left behind. That’s a quick way to burn $8000.
Nespoli clicked away for about a half-hour, from an orbital vantage point about 600 feet (200 meters) from the space station. He stowed the cameras’ data storage cards in the Soyuz descent module. But the cameras themselves were left in the orbital module, a separate chamber that separates from the descent module and burns up in the atmosphere. That’s standard practice for Soyuz re-entries: The astronauts take only what they need and shed the excess baggage to cut down on weight … even if that excess baggage retails for about $8,000, as was the case for the Nikon. – Cosmic Log