Why a V-shaped plane may make a whole lot of sense

When it comes to climate change, today's airplane pollution is a real problem.

Image source: TU Delft
  • A new partnership between the Delft University of Technology and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has been announced along with a plan for a striking new plane.
  • The Flying-V is a plane that's all wing, and promises a 20% reduction in fuel use.
  • Riding in the Flying-V as it banks may not be for the faint of heart.
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Technology & Innovation

Hypersonic passenger jet aims to fly from New York to London in 90 minutes

The Hermeus Corporation recently received seed funding to begin building a hypersonic jet that would travel twice the speed of the now-retired Concorde.

Hermeus Corporation
  • The Hermeus Corporation, an Atlanta-based startup, said it'd take about 10 years to build its hypersonic jet.
  • The era of commercial supersonic transport came to an end in 2003 when the Concorde was retired.
  • Recently, many companies and nations have started investing in supersonic research, possibly signaling the return of the technology in commercial flight.
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Surprising Science

Always dreamed of flying? On these moons, you can.

There are places in our solar system where you can fly.

  • Both the moon and Mars have a weaker surface gravity than the Earth does. The result? You don't weigh as much on either celestial body as you do here.
  • On a moon called Titan that orbits Saturn, the gravity isn't as strong as Earth's, but the atmosphere is much thicker. In this world, it would be possible to strap wings to your arms and fly around.
  • On a low-gravity moon called Miranda, just off the space coast of Uranus, there are cliffs that are many miles high. It would be possible to jump off a cliff here and fall very gently to the bottom.
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  • There is no way to shield astronauts on earth from the effects of gravity.
  • Astronauts train for space by going on an airplane that flies high at an arc so that the force lifts them in the air. However, we can only achieve about a minute's worth of weightlessness this way.
  • NASA researchers have nicknamed this plane the "Vomit Comet."
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Bird-friendly buildings on the rise

Humans blame cats for killing birds, but our buildings are far worse.

The Jacob Javits Center in New York City, 2003. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
  • Nearly a billion birds are killed every year after flying into windows.
  • The American Bird Conservancy published an extensive guide to incorporating bird-friendly design into buildings.
  • Over twenty cities have programs to help reduce the number of avian deaths.
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Technology & Innovation