NASA held a design contest it tidily named the "NASA Aeronautics Amphibious Tilt Rotor for Civilian Operations Competition" — we just call it the NASA AATRCOC to make things easy — and the winning submission is a little, well, out there.
The RAFT, which stands for Rescue Amphibious Firefighting Tiltrotor, was submitted by a team of 10 engineering students from Virginia Tech. Thanks to its twin-hull design (reminiscent of Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo), it's able to land in the roughest waters, and also the capability to take a whopping 50 passengers into the air.
It's unclear what role the RAFT would play in NASA's arsenal exactly, though, without a shuttle to land on a runway, the agency may be looking for more advance craft to be able to head out over water, which is where capsules and the like touch down.
Via The Register