NASA is looking to make more fuel-efficient planes and they could be flying in the next decade.
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is joining other businesses in an attempt to make things more fuel efficient in the airplane space.
- In NASA’s case the administration is looking to create fuel-efficient planes and hopes to have them in commercial use within the next decade.
- NASA opened a contest for U.S. companies to design and build a full-scale fuel-efficient plane.
- Many of the plane renderings are well thought out, but they look strange and very different from the common plane which brings the question—will passengers get on board?
Why it’s news
Climate change has become a big topic in the last few years as businesses around the world are realizing the importance of cutting back emissions.
One sector that has been a long work in progress—airplanes.
Planes contribute around 4% of human-induced global warming, which adds up to more than most countries do. The common airplane that we see has been the same basic model from the 1950s and it uses a lot of jet fuel.
Many companies have attempted electric planes and different models, but nothing has been widely accepted as of yet. NASA is looking to change that and has opened a contest for U.S. companies to design and build a full-scale fuel-efficient plane.
Many renderings have been submitted in the contest and most of them are very different from the common plane. The rules require entrants to target planes around the size of a Boeing Co. 737 that can carry 150 passengers. The agency wants a prototype that could fly as early as 2027 and be ready for mass production in the next decade, according to The Wall Street Journal writer Doug Cameron.
NASA will decide the winner of the contest and design and test the product with hopes to have something similar in the commercial space in the next decade.
“If we don’t do this there will never be change,” says Rich Wahls, NASA’s mission integration manager for its Sustainable Flight National Partnership program.“We have to get this into the fleet quickly to make a climate impact.”
Most of the designs submitted into the contest look very different from planes today in order to meet climate and safety standards.
“I believe in 20 years we’ll see something that looks different,” says Wahls.