MIT tapped to design cleaner, greener, and quieter aircraft of the future

With all this talk about electric cars, solar power, and wind energy being bandied about, we haven't heard much about how to power those gas-guzzling tin cans of the sky. That's why NASA tapped the smarty-pants engineers at MIT to design the planes of the future circa 2030, contracting the team with $2 million to get started.

This squashed wide-body design is the team's preliminary effort. Uh-oh. Looks like there's going be even fewer window seats in this bloated monster. Anyway, for the next 18 months, the scientists will study how to make those flying hogs more fuel efficient, less polluting, and figure out how to silence that roaring racket they all make.

Maybe the design team will recommend that airplanes be done away with altogether, instead opting for electromagnetic levitation (maglev) trains that speed underground in a vacuum, zipping along at Mach 2 or faster. Sounds expensive, but after all, innovation often depends on making exotic tech cheaper.

MIT, via Gizmodo