Big Picture Science – Winging It

by Gary Niederhoff on April 3, 2017

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Big Picture Science – Winging It

Ask anyone what extraordinary powers they’d love to have, and you’re sure to hear “be able to fly.” We’ve kind of scratched that itch with airplanes. But have we gone as far as we can go, or are better flying machines in our future? And whatever happened to our collective dream of flying cars? We look at the evolution – and the future – of flight.

Animals and insects have taught us a lot about the mechanics of becoming airborne. But surprises remain. For example, bats may flit around eccentrically, but they are actually more efficient fliers than birds.

Meanwhile, new technology may change aviation when self-healing material repairs structural cracks in mid-flight. And a scientist who worked on flying cars for DARPA says he’s now working on the next best thing.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Merlin Tuttle / Bats
Part 2: David Alexander / Evolution of Flight
Part 3: Duncan Wass / Self-repairing Airplanes
Part 4: Sanjiv Singh / Flying Cars

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