Paper airplane to fly from space to Earth
- URL to an article from MSNBC
I love it. A paper spaceship!
First few paragraphs
"KASHIWA, Japan - Japanese scientists and origami masters hope to launch a
paper airplane from space and learn from its trip back to Earth.
It's no joke. A prototype passed a durability test in a wind tunnel this
month, Japan's space agency adopted it Wednesday for feasibility studies, and a
well-known astronaut is interested in participating.
A successful flight from space by an origami plane could have far-reaching
implications for the design of re-entry vehicles or space probes for upper
atmospheric exploration, said project leader Shinji Suzuki, a professor at Tokyo
University's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Suzuki said he was skeptical a decade ago when he first discussed with
experts the idea of sending into space a craft made in the tradition of Japan's
ancient art of paper folding.
"It sounded like a simply impossible, crazy idea," Suzuki said. "I gave it
some more thought, and came to think it may not be ridiculous after all, and
could very well survive if it comes down extremely slowly."
In a test outside Tokyo in early February, a prototype about 2.8 inches long
and 2 inches wide survived Mach 7 speeds and broiling temperatures up to 446
degrees Fahrenheit in a hypersonic wind tunnel — conditions meant to
approximate what the plane would face entering Earth's atmosphere.
Having survived the 12-second test with no major damage or burns, the tiny
plane theoretically could get back to Earth because re-entry from outer space
involves passing through several layers that last only a few seconds each,
said Osamu Imamura, a scientist who works with Suzuki."
(entropy always wins)
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