Munsell Color, a division of X-Rite Pantone whose products include color matching and quality standards for environmental purposes, has created a special color matching chart for use aboard the International Space Station.
One of the many potential hazards of life aboard the orbiter is the possible contamination of the spacecraft’s cabin air by Hydrazine, a component in rocket fuel. Astronauts can pick up traces of Hydrazine while working outside of the spacecraft, especially if they pass near the rocket boosters.
To protect them and the delicate onboard ecosystem, astronauts’ space suits are fitted with Hydrazine-sensitive test pads, which change to different color shades in response to different levels of Hydrazine exposure.
After a celestial stroll, a spacewalker passes through an airlock chamber and compares the exposed pad to a color chart, created by Munsell to NASA specifications, using color to determine if it is safe to reenter the space craft.
Shooting the Moon
Also in the works at Munsell is a photographic color control target, similar to those used in photo studios but constructed to withstand the rigors and extremes of space travel. (A photo target is photographed on site, then matched in post production, allowing precise color corrections to the finished photos.) This new standard will travel to the moon with the next manned landing planned in 2020 and will help ensure true-to-life color of objects photographed on the moon.
Last photograph by Ingrid Barrentine, Wired Magazine