Japan To Reboot Space Program With Paper Airplanes
I really don't know what to make of this story. University of Tokyo "researchers" and members of the Japanese Origami Airplane Association are trying to develop a paper "spaceplane" able to survive the flight back from the ISS to the Earth.
If that doesn't seem ridiculous enough, the prototype being tested in an "ultra-high-speed wind tunnel" at the University of Tokyo’s Okashiwa campus is a mere 3.1 inches long. What, they couldn't afford to spring for a full sheet of paper? I guess it was a little snarky of me to run down their wind tunnel, since it is able to subject test items to 5,300 mile per hour winds.
However, I find myself wondering if a paper airplane could even be subjected to 5,300 mph winds anywhere but in a wind tunnel. I'm thinking that the terminal velocity of a paper airplane is about twenty miles per hour.
In fact, I'm wondering if a paper airplane tossed out the airlock on the ISS would even fall to Earth at all. I also think that if they do it, they should drop a few thousand of them, just to make sure you could even find one of them later. I wonder if NASA has any time-motion studies of astronauts doing origami in zero-gee. Probably not.
It turns out that you can find anything on Internet video - I don't know if they are actually going to make an origami Space Shuttle, but now you can.
(Origami space shuttle video)
SF writers have been thinking about dropping stuff out the airlock (and have it fall all the way to Earth safely) for quite a while; here's Doc Smith at work in 1934. This is actually a very early reference to the idea of ablative heat shielding.
Back toward the trailing edges then, to a small escape-hatch beside which was fastened a dull black ball... He gasped as the air rushed out into near-vacuum... He rolled the ball out onto the hatch, where he opened it: two hinged hemispheres, each heavily padded with molded composition resembling sponge rubber...
(Read more about Doc Smith's ablative heat shield)
Via Origami spaceplane to launch from space station.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/16/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...' - Jack Williamson, 1933.
Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars
'That gives it complete isolation.' - David H. Keller, 1932.
Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.' - Hal Clement, 1956.
Axiom - The World's First Private Space Station?
'So Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.' - Nat Schachner, 1937.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'
When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'
LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'
Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'
Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'
Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'
Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'
Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'
Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'
TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'
Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'
Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'
Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!
Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories