NASA captures unprecedented images of supersonic shockwaves
SEE ALSO :Who will be the first female moonwalker?With one jet flying just behind the other, "the shocks are going to be shaped differently", said Neal Smith of AerospaceComputing Inc, an engineering firm that works with NASA, in a post on the agency's website. "This data is really going to help us advance our understanding of how these shocks interact." Sonic booms can be a major nuisance, capable of not just startling people on the ground but also causing damage -- like shattered windows -- and this has led to strong restrictions on supersonic flight over land in jurisdictions like the United States. The ability to capture such detailed images of shockwaves will be "crucial" to NASA's development of the X-59, the agency said, an experimental supersonic plane it hopes will be able to break the sound barrier with just a rumble instead of a sonic boom. A breakthrough like that could lead to the loosening of flight restrictions and the return of commercial supersonic planes for the first time since Concorde was retired in 2003.
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