NASA's Psychedelic Space Plane Is Glowing with Pure Science

Illustration for article titled NASA's Psychedelic Space Plane Is Glowing with Pure Science

So much of real science is publishing articles and peer-reviewed studies, so it's always great to see that crazy, fluorescent, glowing space-plane, movie-type science is really out there too. And NASA is doing it with the best of them.


First NASA scientists took a 5.8 percent scale prototype space plane and covered in a ton of glowing, fluorescent oil. Then, they stuck it in a wind tunnel to put its aerodynamics to the test. There's plenty you can learn from a wind tunnel test and your naked eyes, but the glowing oil helps to showcase the more minute details of how the air blasts by, making it easier to tweak the design to modify lift, thrust, and whathaveyou.

Also it just looks freaking awesome. We should cover and all space planes in fluorescent oil all the time. You know, for science. [NASA]

Image Credit: NASA Langley/Preston Martin



what propulsion system does this use? I don't understand why it's worth testing aerodynamics when you don't yet know the size, weight and shape of the propulsion system?