APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul 07)

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APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul 07)

Postby APOD Robot » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:08 am

Image Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine

Explanation: What will passenger airplanes be like in the future? To help brain storm desirable and workable attributes, NASA sponsors design competitions. Shown here is an artist's depiction of a concept plane that has been recently suggested. This futuristic plane would be expected to achieve supersonic speeds, possibly surpassing the speeds of the supersonic transport planes that ran commercially in the late twentieth century. In terms of noise reduction, the future aircraft has been drawn featuring an inverted V wing stretched over its engines. The structure is intended to reduce the sound from annoying sonic booms. Additionally, future airplanes would aim to have relatively little impact on our environment, including green limits on pollution and fuel consumption. Aircraft utilizing similar design concepts might well become operational by the 2030s.

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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby yes » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:10 am

The craft almost looks like the PanAm in the movie 2001.
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby fatcitymax » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:22 am

The issue is not high-speed air travel, it's the time that passengers spend in airports plus the time getting to and from the airports. We need a supersonic aircraft like we need another Space Shuttle or ISS or moon landing.
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby Benbrilling » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:44 am

Cool plane, but... no windows?
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby bystander » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:51 am

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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby Mr America » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:54 am

Lets get over this GREEN thing
Its not going to happen
its a joke
First-you cannot fly supersonically at great altitudes without using a large amount of energy to get there.
Secondly, Sonic boom will always be a problem no matter what kind of quieting you attempt.
Third-at the present coure, there will be no mankind around for this stuff
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby rocksnstars » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:54 am

Astronomy?
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby rocdoc » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:49 am

in addition to the question of the "green-ness" of supersonic transport in general, etc., would you really want the inverted wing to be attached to the outboard engine nacelles?
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby workgazer » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:56 am

What was wrong with Concorde?
Only 1 crash, Looked amazing, Very fast, Make more efficient engines and reto fit and you meet the green bit.
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby orin stepanek » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:06 pm

Why the inverted v wing? I would think that would create a lot of unwanted drag! :roll:
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby orin stepanek » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:14 pm

Benbrilling wrote:Cool plane, but... no windows?

There are passenger windows but; none for the pilot! The pilot must fly by radar! :mrgreen:
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby geckzilla » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:47 pm

There are no passenger windows, either. I think you mistook the logo letters for windows.
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby DCStone » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:50 pm

Is it just me, or do the two winglets on the front end make this thing look like some giant, space-fairing squid?

It's a little reminiscent of the space planes in the cover illustration on the copy of Clarke's "Islands in the Sky" I had as a kid...
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby moonstruck » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:55 pm

It looks kinda nose heavy. :roll:
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby richard schumacher » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:41 pm

Yeah, what does this have to do with astronomy? It's not even a space topic, as it is clearly an airplane and not a space vehicle.

Anyway, what's important is less how much energy is used and more how much pollution, including CO2 pollution, that that energy use creates. Future airplanes will be "green" by virtue of their power supply. They will use either (1) rather conventional engines burning artificial fuel manufactured using atmospheric CO2 and a non-fossil energy source, or (2) electric motors and non-fossil-sourced power beamed to them by laser or microwave. Land travel will be largely electrified but much air travel cannot be replaced by surface travel.

A really cool way space-related to travel will be sub-orbital vehicles. New York to Tokyo in 45 minutes. Woo!
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby bystander » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:53 pm

rocksnstars wrote:Astronomy?
richard schumacher wrote:Yeah, what does this have to do with astronomy? It's not even a space topic, as it is clearly an airplane and not a space vehicle.

At least twice before, Dr. Robert Nemiroff (RJN), APOD Editor, has posted replies to critisisms of APOD content.

Once was the infamous July 22, 2008, APOD: Happy People Dancing on Planet Earth, Asterisk* Discussion.
RJN wrote:I posted that video to APOD. About once a month or so, APOD posts an image that is not strictly related to the classical definition of astronomy or space science. Reasons for this are several, including broadening APOD's reader base. APODs like these, in my opinion, interest people in space, science, and astronomy who might not normally have or follow such interests. In my view, the web appears to stratify people by interests, and many times people in one interest group will not wander into other interest areas. Eclectic APODs like this are therefore an attempt to reach across disciplines.

Additionally, in my view, APOD is also about planet Earth, exploration, and making connections between science and things not classically related to science. In this case, this APOD focussed on humans specifically, who have never been highlighted on APOD before. This also gives APOD a "human" link usable inside of future APODs.

- RJN

The other time I remember was the January 22, 2008, APOD: Shelf Cloud Over Saskatchewan, Asterisk* Discussion.
RJN wrote:I chose and wrote this APOD, and here are some of my thoughts on the criticism that this APOD is not true to APOD's astronomy theme.

First of all, I do think that this criticism does have some merit. How would I feel if my favorite classic-rock radio station suddenly played Beethoven? Possibly the same way -- especially if the radio station advertised that it played rock music.

They why did we run this image? Well, in some sense APOD is like a blog. Sometimes Jerry or I will just run things we think are cool. Fuzzy ideas that swim around in my brain when choosing a non-astronomical cool image include the wow factor of the image, whether the sky is at all involved, the educational content of the image, the scientific content of the image, and whether the image could be useful in the future as a link from a more main-stream astronomically-oriented APOD. I also hope that non-astronomy images are useful in drawing people with more diverse interests to view APOD and therefore become interested in astronomy.

Other arguments include "the Earth is also a planet" and that the term "astronomy" is actually somewhat vague these days. See: Wikipedia: Use of terms "astronomy" and "astrophysics". If one is to take the term "astronomy" at its Greek roots then APOD should only show star images! But these reasons are secondary.

APOD runs non-astronomy images about once a month or so. We have always done this. If you don't like it, I apologize, but I think it will continue. I still hope that, for the most part, everyone, even the astronomy purists, will still find APOD enjoyable and educational.

- RJN
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby cmflyer » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:02 pm

Mr America wrote:Lets get over this GREEN thing
Its not going to happen
its a joke
First-you cannot fly supersonically at great altitudes without using a large amount of energy to get there.
Secondly, Sonic boom will always be a problem no matter what kind of quieting you attempt.
Third-at the present course, there will be no mankind around for this stuff


Green just refers to the color. Let's get over the supersonic/suborbital transport idea, which we've been thinking about for 50 years. Where's my jetpack?! On the other hand, Terrafugia is about to deliver a flying car...
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby Fenyvesson » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:03 pm

A poor APOD. Little information, uninteresting picture. Not good looking either. Not up to your standard.
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby orin stepanek » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:10 pm

geckzilla wrote:There are no passenger windows, either. I think you mistook the logo letters for windows.

Your right; I guess they aren't windows. :oops: It's hard to make them out as letters though. :shock: Since it's a concept plane; I guess the designers took some liberties. :)
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby owlice » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:25 pm

geckzilla and orin, all the windows are on the bottom. To reduce drag, everyone on board will be lying prone, head toward the front of the plane. Passengers will be required to wear V-shaped tinfoil helmets. Pilots/copilots will also be lying prone; the controls will be completely voice-automated. The computers onboard will have the vocal profile of all authorized pilots downloaded before each flight, and should the voice-recognition system detect panic or fear in a pilot's voice or a strange voice in the cockpit, control for the plane will switch from human-controlled to computer-controlled.

The luggage problem is still under study; so far, this plane does not make allowances for cargo of any type. There is no cargo hold, and without seats, there is no storage "under the seat in front of you." There is still a lot of work to be done and issues which need to be worked out.
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby bystander » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:47 pm

owlice :lol:

Actually, what's the need for windows? 10 miles up, supersonic, anything to see would just frighten you.
The pilots are IFR for the same reason. Just sit back, get drunk, and enjoy the movie (if you have time).
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby AstroNut2008 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:11 pm

I wouldn't define the wing of this concept design as v-shaped or inverted. Those little Buck Rogers Rocketship looking things on the end of the wings are probably the supersonic versions of those little winglets you see on many airliners nowadays. If that's the case, they're designed to significantly reduce induced drag and in this case, probably helps reduce the stress on the wingtips caused by either the transonic shockwave as the aircraft passes through Mach 1 and/or the bowshock of the Mach cone, which I'm guessing would be very close to the wingtips. Of course, I'm an Astronautical Engineer, not an Aeronautical Engineer. I usually don't have to worry about shockwaves and Mach cones.

Also, it's just a concept design. We don't take concept cars and clothes that models wear in fashion shows seriously do we? They're meant to spark the imagination and create more ideas that hopefully find their way into an operational system in the future.
Last edited by AstroNut2008 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby ke6izp » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:13 pm

Personally, I thought the connection between the little green skunk on the tail and the contest submitter was kind of cool . . .
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Re: APOD: Concept Plane: Supersonic Green Machine (2010 Jul

Postby Henning Makholm » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:29 pm

My immediate reaction is that it looks dreadfully unbalanced -- that little canard out front is going to have to deliver some real lift in order to keep the plane in trim.
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Re: Windows

Postby nstahl » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:52 pm

If I've paid enough to get practically into space I damned well want to be able to look around.
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