PHOTO: NASA Testing Futuristic Electric Air Taxi

by Taylor Cunningham

If you thought Uber was an innovative way to get people around busy towns, check out what NASA is planning. All-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft—coming to a city near you.

NASA is working on these futuristic electric air taxis with Joby Aviation. And the concept came as part of NASA’s  Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign. AAM is aiming to bring air taxis and drones to major cities as a way of transporting both humans and goods.

“When fully integrated into the national airspace, AAM will provide an efficient and affordable system for passenger and cargo transportation and other applications in the public interest. This system could include aircraft like package delivery drones, air taxis, and medical transport vehicles,” wrote NASA’s AAM mission integration manager Davis Hackenberg.

NASA and Joby have already kicked off the first rounds of flight tests in Big Sur, California. And they will continue through September 10th.

These flying taxis were designed to fly around densely populated and residential areas. So, their engines are incredibly quiet, unlike traditional helicopters. The aircraft can also travel up to 150 miles before needing to be recharged. They can also move as fast as 200 miles per hour. And the eVTOL aircraft comes equipped with a vertical takeoff and landing feature, so it can operate virtually anywhere.

And of course, new technology comes with new travel and safety issues. So NASA plans on teaming up with the Federal Aviation Administration to write regulations for these and future aircraft developments. Hackenberg said that the current tests will help them create the rules. “These testing scenarios will help inform gaps in current standards to benefit the industry’s progress of integrating AAM vehicles into the airspace,” said Hackenberg.

Joby and NASA will perform more complex tests and scenarios next year. So be sure to follow the eVTOL developments on NASA’s website.

NASA Releases Footage of 13-Billion-Year Old Brown Dwarf

NASA astrophysicists recently released footage of an amazing brown dwarf that may be the oldest in our galaxy.

Brown dwarfs are celestial objects that are bigger than a star but smaller than a planet. NASA states that “Given that range of masses, the object would not have been able to sustain the fusion of hydrogen-like a regular star; thus, many scientists have dubbed brown dwarfs as ‘failed stars.'”

The particular brown dwarf, nicknamed “The Accident,” was discovered by Dan Caselden, who isn’t on the NASA team. He found The Accident using software he built to locate objects in space and gather data through a telescope.

The Accident may be proof that there may be older brown dwarfs in our galaxy. Astrophysicists were able to date the object back to when the Milky Way had a completely different composition.

Check out the footage and learn more about The Accident here.