Throughout its history, NASA has not only been responsible for developing spacecraft, but also cutting-edge aircraft that pushed the boundaries of technology and flight. Now, they’re getting ready to do it again.
Leonardo DaVinci’s wing and glider designs have inspired literature, art, and cinema over the centuries. But plenty of other people have schemed to take to the air, long before the Wright Brothers. Here are just some of the inventors who devised methods of unpowered human flight...with mixed success.
Aerosense, Sony’s new drone business, just released video of its drone prototype flying, and it’s so cool I kind of wish I had the ability to Honey I Shrunk the Kids myself so I could fit inside it.
As if arachnophobes didn’t already have enough to worry about, biologists working in Panama and Peru have discovered a nocturnal hunting spider capable of steering while in free fall—an unprecedented adaptation in tree-dwelling spiders that’s offering fresh insights into the evolution of flight.
These videos, recorded by Dennis Hlynsky, a professor at Rhode Island School of Design, are showing the flight paths of various birds like crows, starlings, seagulls, black vultures, purple martins and sparrows, among others.
This flying bathtub is not only a real NASA prototype, but is also a television star. A test flight went awry in 1967, crashing into the desert floor. The pilot survived, and the footage from the crash made it into the opening credits for The Six Million Dollar Man.
Wingsuits let humans glide through the air on Earth, but could they let us fly like birds on another world? A paper suggests that humans could achieve takeoff and flight on Saturn's moon Titan, but only if they get a good running start first and strap on some large wings.
It's the 100-years anniversary of commercial flight travel. To celebrate, let's all check out this lovely interactive map, that shows the flight paths and times of all the planes currently in the air.
There are shades of Moebius and Hayao Miyazaki in Inbal Breda's wordless short film The Flight. Two girls leap and bound through the ruins of a magnificent floating city and learn something about their friendship in the process.
Aircraft makers tried a lot of different designs before settling on the two-winged planes and jets we're familiar with today. Inventors toyed with the idea of a multi-winged aircraft — often fashioned from incredibly complicated structures — before discarding it. Here are some of their most amazing failures.
We're so glad you asked. This video – shot by an eagle with a camera mounted on its back – gives us a spellbinding look at what it's like to wheel gracefully over the Mer de Glace in Chamonix, France. Good grief, talk about a stunning view.
Stanford University researchers want to build better flying robots. In order to eventually do this, they are filming birds in flight (including hummingbirds) using an ultra-high-speed video camera. Some of the clips they've acquired are nothing short of amazing.
Researchers from the University of Manitoba have shown that birds can either be very good at flying or swimming, but not both. And they’ve been studying a very awkward seabird to prove it.
Dora the peregrine falcon wore a camera on her back to capture this incredible and brutal video. Watch as she slams into a flying duck, killing it in the air.
When it comes to insect flight, we usually only think about how the insect's wings contribute to aerial stability. But scientists have now discovered that the abdominal movements of some insects also play a large role in flight control, particularly when hovering — a finding that could lead to improved aerial drones.
The flying machine featured here is called an ornithopter, and its conceptual origins date back at least as far as the late 15th century, when Leonardo Da Vinci first produced drawings of a bird-like machine capable of flight.
This slow-motion footage of a dove in flight is certainly worth watching for its artistic and technical merit (be sure to bump the resolution up to 720p), but it's also a great opportunity to understand some of the science behind the bird's aerial abilities.
Bats are the only mammals that can technically fly, but a lot of other creatures do a pretty good impression of flight by gliding down from the tops of tall trees. But there's a problem: this behavior makes no sense.
It might not be immediately obvious just how birds could evolve something as complex as the wings needed for flight. But that's just it: flight was basically incidental to the real adaptation. The secret is a little something called flap-running.
We all know that superheroes like Superman or Thor are completely impossible. But just for the sake of argument, are there any superpowers that could actually exist in the real world? We assembled a panel of experts to find out.