We’ve written about the steps that consumers and corporations alike have taken to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to the global appeal for climate change and sustainability. It’s nearly impossible to ignore that fact that change is needed in the ways we both produce and operate many of the machines we use daily. Electric cars, energy efficient appliances, and solar powered production have all deservedly taken the spotlight as some of the leading trends and contributions made toward the reduction of energy emissions, but lately it’s been NASA who has, if you’ll excuse the pun, flown under the radar.
In late November, NASA handed out a total of $6 million to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to help major airlines develop quieter, more fuel efficient and “green” planes. NASA’s goal is to reduce harmful emissions from jets by half, cut the area affected by noise planes produced from takeoff and landing by 83%, and enable planes to reduce fuel consumption by half. The plan is to have planes that adhere to all of these requirements in the air by 2025.
It will be just as exciting to hear about the developments from these two companies as it will be to see the design of the aircrafts that are developed. An article in the Los Angeles Times gave a glimpse into the funding from NASA and readers were invited in to see a few of the green plane concepts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With additional requirements that the aircraft be able to carry a minimum of 100,000 pounds in either passengers or cargo, and fly at the speed of sound for 7,000 miles, NASA is urging both companies to think outside the box.
Flying has changed dramatically since its birth in the early 1900’s. It’s not unfathomable to think that in another 50-100 years we could be travelling by air much differently than we are now. It’s good to see that we’re taking the steps to make sure that when that time comes, we won’t be using outdated methods or technology and potentially contributing to added noise and pollution.