In an interesting 6-minute mini-documentary on NASA’s experimental aircraft, mainly revolving around the Lockheed ER-2 – which is a derivative of the U2 spyplane – Jon Stewart (not the Daily Show one) asked NASA pilots about their pressure suits and the hardships of flying 10-hour missions encased in what is essentially an air-tight boiler suit.
Back in the ’50s, when every other day a new type of aircraft was taking to the skies, the Vertol VZ-2 arrived on the scene. It was a bizarre blend of helicopter and conventional aircraft. It was built in 1957 by Vertol, with the money for the project coming from a U.S. Army contract. From the start the program was guided by the Army’s desire to explore the tilt-wing VTOL principle within the shortest possible time and at minimum cost. Consequently, every effort was made to simplify the program and to reduce cost.
In order to speed things up and keep it cheap, it was decided that the aircraft should be as small as was realistically possible. And in order to keep technical unknowns to a minimum, where possible standard and existing parts and equipment was used. Continue reading ‘Strange Vehicles: Vertol VZ-2’ »
In case you’re unaware NASA last week pulled off an audacious mission and landed a giant rover on the red planet. Curiosity, the integral part of a 2.5 billion dollar project, will roam the martian surface. Its primary mission is to evaluate the “habitability” of the planet, and discover if Mars was, or still is, capable of supporting life.
Well Nissan has rather cleverly managed to jump onto this extraterrestrial bandwagon by producing a simple but clever little infographic which shows the cost of driving the 352 million miles between Earth and Mars.
Not surprisingly Nissan comes out on top in their bizzare fuel economy comparison test, which pits the 2013 Nissan Altima against seven of its competitors. Based on gasoline prices of $3.645 per gallon it would cost a mere $33.7 million to get there. If you took the Nissan that is. And you were somehow able to escape Earth’s gravity, produce oxygen, feed yourself, store the fuel, run the engine in a vacuum etc. etc. Continue reading ‘How Much Would it Cost to Drive to Mars?’ »