Japan’s space agency earmarked the equivalent of $900,000 U.S. Dollars this week to fund an experiment that would focus on flying paper airplanes in space for the next three years. I am not making this up.
Image from dsgnctrl on Flickr
The project, which is attempting to learn more about flight characteristics in support of building spacecraft in the future, has already proven some of its early ambition
— the prototype planes have been through wind tunnel tests up to Mach 7, and 200 degrees Celsius.
Obviously, this is no ordinary paper– it’s been heat-treated– but Japanese officials believe that the conditions they’ve produced will approximate what the planes might face during re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere. The single biggest challenge to the project so far? finding the things after they land– officials are skeptical about attaching a transmitter because of how they might damage the flight characteristics.