Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good science, bad science

Two bits of science news, both jaw-dropping -- one in a good way, the other notsomuch.

First, the awesome:
An early proposal calls for a wedge-shaped aircraft with scramjets to be launched horizontally on an electrified (magnetic levitation) track or gas-powered sled. The aircraft would fly up to Mach 10, using the scramjets and wings to lift it to the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where a small payload canister or capsule similar to a rocket’s second stage would fire off the back of the aircraft and into orbit.
Engineers also contend the system, with its advanced technologies, will benefit the nation’s high-tech industry by perfecting technologies that would make more efficient commuter rail systems, better batteries for cars and trucks, and numerous other spinoffs.
Hat tip to the guys at Weird Things. Not only is it awesome, the plan calls for technology that already exists, just pushed to a greater degree. The idea of space-faring craft bursting forth from a deep tunnel in the Rockies and screaming into the sky is very sci-fi, and yet oh-so plausible.

That was the good. The bad follows after the break.

I really, really, really hope this is just another elaborate Internet joke.

Their science is underwhelming at best, but you can't accuse them of bad timing. Nice job by them to schedule their get-together on Notre Dame's bye week. Phil Plait details the myriad holes in Geocentrism -- all the while making sure not to be a dick -- here.

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