Take a look at the planes you might be flying in 2035. Designers at MIT have figured out how to build jets that use 70% less fuel, emit 75% less nitrogen oxides, and make a whole lot less noise than today's planes.
The aircraft pictured on the left is the 180-passenger D Series, affectionately known as the "Double Bubble." It's designed to replace today's Boeing 737-class jets, but flies at speeds that are about 10% slower. Its engines are mounted on the rear of the fuselage, taking in slower-moving air that's been disturbed by the plane's fuselage. That allows them to burn less fuel while maintaining the same amount of thrust they would if they were mounted on the wings.
On the right you see the 350-passenger H Series, using many of the same tricks, but aimed at replacing the Boeing 777-class planes that travel much longer distances. Its triangular-shaped body creates enough forward lift so there's no tail needed.
These are some sweet planes, and they're a lot more realistic than that fanciful 2050 design we showed you last week that takes off vertically. Let's hope NASA accepts these designs and gives the MIT team the go-ahead for Phase 2 of this forward-looking project.
MIT is one of six teams commissioned by NASA in 2008 to develop these future craft, but we're rooting for the Boeing and Lockheed-Martin teams, working on supersonic commercial aircraft. Of course, the future will have room for both types of planes, just like when Concorde was flying.