Nothing says “future” like a big fat airship

Tom James @ 25-09-2008

As Charles Stross says, “Zeppelins have always been an icon of futurism” and I’ve always wondered why the heck we haven’t gotten over the Hindenburg and moved in to our Bright New Future. The Register gives us the lowdown on all the various engineering problems that need to be overcome for airships to be viable as a mass transport system, and how engineers are trying to solve them:

A Ukrainian airship visionary based in California has won further US military funding to develop his miraculous “Aeroscraft” sky-leviathan design. However, some question marks remain over the craft’s unique – almost miraculous – buoyancy-control technology.

[image from the Register story]


Floating cities on Venus?

Tom James @ 22-07-2008

Combining two of the most compelling tropes from science fiction: floating cities and colonising other planets, Geoffrey Landis, a scientist at the NASA Glenn Research Center (who also writes science fiction, apparently) suggest the idea that humans could live in aerostatic cities in the upper atmosphere of Venus:

50 km above the surface, Venus has air pressure of approximately 1 bar and temperatures in the 0