Known for their space-faring aircraft, NASA reported being hard at work on something new and interesting last night. According to them, they’re hard at work on an aircraft capable of “quiet supersonic flight.”
Taking to Instagram, the organization both shared pictures of the craft and shared information concerning it. Supersonic flight is currently dicey because when aircraft exceed Mach 1, it creates sonic booms, which can be disruptive. However, that may be a thing of the past with NASA’s new X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST). The Instagram pics show not only the craft but a scale model during a test inside a wind tunnel.
“Quiet supersonic flight? We’re working on it,” NASA captioned the post. “This first image shows a scale model of our X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) experimental aircraft during a recent sonic boom test inside a wind tunnel at our @NASAGlenn Research Center in Ohio. Using a photographic process called “schlieren,” it shows the flow of air around a scale aircraft model, as well as the shock waves and their positions. @NASAAero engineers have been testing the QueSST technology to make quiet supersonic flight a reality, letting future travelers get to their destinations faster.”
The post continues by talking about supersonic flight. NASA acknowledges the sonic booms being disruptive but informs us researchers are working to reduce their impact. According to them, the craft will produce only a “light thump.”
On an exciting note, this was apparently one of the craft’s final wind tunnel evaluations this year. This means later on they will test it with an inaugural flight test. Hopefully, it does well and we see more aircraft of its ilk soon.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover No Longer Has a Mars Pebble Problem
It appears fixing a sonic boom problem with supersonic flight isn’t the only thing NASA has had luck with recently. A few days ago, its Perseverance rover overcame its Mars rock problem.
You likely heard of the Perseverance rover making history last year when it collected Mars rock samples. However, last month it encountered a troublesome issue when pebbles became lodged in the machinery used for collecting said samples. Specifically, the rover possesses a carousel inside its chassis, which rock samples fell into while it collected them. Luckily, NASA’s quick thinking saved the day. The team attempted many methods, but tipping out the sample and rotating the carousel successfully dislodged the pebbles.
Digital Trends revealed there are still two more pebbles below the carousel, but they shouldn’t pose a problem. NASA’s jet Propulsion Laboratory Deputy Project Manager, Rick Welch, disclosed the team is discussing the mission’s next steps, but they ultimately aim to explore and sample Jezero Crater.