Levitation and flying saucers

First the good news – scientists may have cracked a way of making objects levitate. Now the bad news – this jiggery-pokery with something called the Casimir force only works at the nanoscale so far. [OhGizmo!]

Which means it’s no use for making commercial flying machines, of course, which is a shame. But new environmental pressures are bringing new ideas and designs to the aviation table – I’d really like to see this ‘flying saucer’ aircraft concept make it into the commercial arena. [BeyondTheBeyond]

4 thoughts on “Levitation and flying saucers”

  1. I read this article after seeing it referenced on Beyond the Beyond, and was struck by how uninformative the article at LiveScience is.

    The implication is that the “flying saucer” design has been created not as a viable alternative to conventional designs, but rather as an attention-grabbing headline-image.

    The news is that “CleanEra”, a research group within the Dutch University TU Delft, have started a “four year project” to “develop the ultra eco-friendly plane”.

    From TU Delft’s website:

    “The faculty is currently hard at work recruiting a special research team to design this innovative ‘green’ aircraft in a project called CleanEra. The research team, known as DELcraFTworks, started to work last May 2007. The aircraft will have a capacity of 125 passengers.”

    Link here: http://www.lr.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.jsp?id=96dc8a54-b889-4296-8e6b-3f1e96058b5f&lang=en

    The last paragraph of the article at LiveScience: “However, he [the project leader] does not necessarily think people should cut back on flying. One solution might be to save fuel by shuttling vacationers in a slower, lower-flying aircraft, but then “start the party on board,” de Haan suggested. It wouldn’t be a flying saucer, but rather a cruise ship in the sky. ”

    So as nice as the the picture of the flying saucer “greenliner” looks – it’s not actually what de Haan s talking about.

    Nevertheless this is commendable research – for me relatively cheap and fast transport (through jet planes) to anywhere in the world will be the biggest sacrifice to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions. It is good to know that there are people working to provide alternatives to kerosene-guzzling conventional jets.

    My candidate for “plane of the future” is the “SmartFish” project. Instead of using kerosene to fuel your aircraft you use hydrogen.

    Hydrogen has already been suggested as a storage medium for energy for use in cars, and the SmartFish project is developing a two-person jet powered entirely by hydrogen gas.

    Link here: http://www.lr.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.jsp?id=96dc8a54-b889-4296-8e6b-3f1e96058b5f&lang=en

    Because hydrogen masses fairly little it is admirably suited to use as an aviation fuel, and unlike de Haan’s proposals, it does not necessarily mean that aeroplanes will have to travel more slowly.

  2. I do believe I have discussed the possibility of flying saucers being used commercially during a commercial airline flight.

    I am featured on the BBC website and I am anxious to bring my weblinks to everyone’s attention. Simply visit Google and search the web for Jeremy Keller to access the details. The BBC website, for example, refers to me as having always had a fascination with space and technology.

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