Blended Wing Body Aircraft
In the past few years, people have become more and more concerned with the effect of fuel emissions on the environment. At the same time the global demand for air travel is increasing. So NASA (yes they make planes too, yes I was surprised by this) amongst others have been trying to come up with a solution that reduces emissions whilst still providing the performance needed – and as you can see from the picture, looking awesome in the process.
The Blended Wing Body with Distributed Propulsion provides a much greater aerodynamic efficiency and could reduce fuel emissions by over 75%. So what’s the problem? The technology is just not there yet. This is set three generations ahead of current aircraft and has the major engineering issues to match. For example: With Distributed Propulsion two jet engines would need to provide power to multiple fans along the back of the aircraft, this would not work for our regular resistive, power losing wires so the system would require superconductivity to ensure no power is lost. Superconductivity requires very cold temperatures possibly achieved with the use of liquid hydrogen cooled to 30oK (or -243oC). If not kept at this temperature the hydrogen could rapidly expand and blow the whole plane up.
There are many other issues but that is one of the more dramatic.
So, Will we see this plane in the future? Maybe not.
Is it a really cool idea that looks like sci-fi spacecraft? Hell yeah.