.: Above The Aether :.

30 Mar, 2008

Rocket science and origami

Posted by: Dave In: Design |Science

Origami space shuttle

Scientists in Japan hope to release an origami glider from space and study how reentry through Earth’s atmosphere affects it.  According to Wired:

In a test outside Tokyo in early February, a prototype about 2.8 inches long and 2 inches wide survived Mach 7 speeds and broiling temperatures up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit in a hypersonic wind tunnel – conditions meant to approximate what the plane would face entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Having survived the 12-second test with no major damage or burns, the tiny plane theoretically could get back to Earth because re-entry from outer space involves passing through several layers that last only a few seconds each, said Osamu Imamura, a scientist who works with Suzuki.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, accepted it Wednesday for three years of feasibility studies and promised up to $300,000 in funding per year.

At this point, the proposal faces just one challenge, but it’s a potentially crippling one: There is no way to track the paper craft or predict when or where they may land.

The gliders are made of paper pressed from sugar cane fibers and sprayed with a special coating that has allowed them endure friction caused by great speeds (beyond what normal paper could endure).  This seems creatively brilliant to me even if it never ends up working.  I like the way these scientists are thinking.

Link (Photo by Itsuo Inouye)

– Dave

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  • Dave: Not sure, Bryan, but I'd love to know where Craig lives.
  • Bryan Hanks: What city were those in?
  • Kevin David Anderson: check out our other wreaths at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150452725264516.391111.360128594515&type=3
  • epiphenita: Like Tom Waits without the music.
  • epiphenita: Reminds me of my good friend's artwork: http://victoriacarlson.blogspot.com/2009/06/untitled.html
  • Dave: I think someone should make some dance music from those "WHOAHs."
  • epiphenita: Oh, Dave. That was tonic to my soul. Perfect. I vote for an exorcism.
  • Dave: Hmm, looks sober to me.
  • Scott: I'm thinking that the guy with the hat might have had a drink or two before this picture was taken. Just a hunch...
  • Scott: There's a roleplaying scenario just waiting to be written based on these pictures. :-)

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Stepping over the steaming pile of reality. This is one man's journey into the absurd.

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