May 17, 1956: The swinging doors of this massive supersonic wind tunnel utterly dwarf the puny engineer deluding himself that he can control its voracious appetite.
April 10, 1990: This is what happens when you unfurl a massive parachute in the world’s largest wind tunnel.
Holy crap. Testing how aircraft ice in extreme cold weather makes sense, but surely this is going too far?! This 1983 test at NASA’s Icing Research Tunnel dropped this commuter transport engine into its own special torment, spraying it with water to observe freezing on the test model.
Smoke and lasers take this model aircraft from looking good to gorgeous. The flow visualization was part of high speed research on the F-16 Scamp conducted at NASA’s Langeley Research Center in 1992.
1985: Adding lasers makes even a supersonic wind tunnel more awesome.
1961: Big science is squeezed into a small package for this supersonic transport model. All it takes is a tiny bomber under 3 centimeters long to check out the propagating roar of sonic booms.
Film noir set or serious aerodynamics research facility? NASA blended the two in this enormous wind tunnel, the historical facility used to test the aerodynamics of everything from the Corsair through hypersonic aircraft, and the DHC-5 Buffalo through Saturn rockets.
Oh, wow. Aerodynamics research has never looked as pretty as it does with this new variation of an old technique for imaging supersonic shockwaves.
This strangely alive-looking blob isn't a prop from a sci-fi movie. It's a smorph, a morphing material that could make the cars, trains and airplanes of tomorrow extremely aerodynamic, using the same trick that helps golf balls fly faster and straighter.
In the 2010 World Cup, players complained the ball was wonky, so this year has an all-new ball. NASA used smoke, lasers, and fluid boxes to test out its aerodynamics. Aside from producing some awesome photographs, the actual science is pretty cool, too.
When the 2014 FIFA World Cup gets started on June 12 in Brazil, the world's greatest soccer players will be booting around one of the most advanced balls ever created for the sport — and the science proves it.
On Earth, a properly thrown boomerang will return to the person who threw it. Is the same true aboard the International Space Station?
MLB pitcher R.A. Dickey* slings an erratic knuckleball pitch, posing a challenge for batter and catcher alike. The ball has been colorized to highlight its almost total lack of spin, which usually serves to stabilize the ball's trajectory.
When your plane feels like it's being thrown around the sky by an angry thunder god, should you be nervous? Actually, yes. But not for the reasons you might think. Let's take a look at what turbulence is, and the real reasons why it can be dangerous.
The next time you're bored in a coffee shop, here's a little something to do. All you need is a coin, a straw, a cup, and a willingness to be made the object of many admiring looks — for you are the pennymaster.
When we think of experiments that test bodily reactions to high altitudes, we think of the space program, or at least the airplane industry. In fact, the first careful experiment took place hundreds of years ago, in the gardens of Versailles.
We've heard blasé dialog about Mach numbers from fighter pilots in movies, but do you know what Mach numbers actually mean? Among other things, it means that two planes going at Mach 1 can actually be going at very different speeds.
You're looking at the future of space exploration: a robot who can move fast though slippery, sandy terrain. With the help of new experimental techniques, robots inspired by the one above could one day be used for search-and-rescue missions, or exploring the surface of Mars, with unprecedented speed and mobility.
So this is what the red death looks like when the mask comes off. Or maybe what the fog monster from Lost looks like when it gets some pizzazz. Actually, this swirling vortex of crimson death is a NASA test that lets technicians observe the air disturbance behind a plane.
This is impressive. Watch what happens when a very flustered squirrel makes a daring leap for freedom through the kitchen window of what looks to be a fourth-story apartment. The brief clip, captured on video by Finn83, raises an interesting question: how does a squirrel survive such a fall?