Who's better qualified to imagine what air transport will look like 50 years from now than people who will be using it then? That's got to be the thinking behind a new competition for high school and college students announced this week by the U.S. space agency.
The 2007-2008 Aeronautics Competition invites students to submit essays that try to picture what the all-purpose transport aircraft of the mid-21st century will be. To focus their imaginations, NASA has asked students to consider the case of an historic aircraft that changed the future: the famed DC-3 of the mid-20th century. It was the airplane that revolutionized the commercial aeronautics industry in its day.
High school students are invited to write a report describing how the transportation of goods and passengers might be revolutionized with the future equivalent of the DC-3 by the year 2058, according to the agency. College students are invited to design such an aircraft, using guidelines provided by NASA, and suggest a minimum of three valid operational scenarios for their proposed vehicle.
NASA said in a statement that the winners in each category will be eligible for cash awards and student internships within the aerospace program. Entries will be judged by federal, university, and industry representatives. Applicants will need to file a letter of intent to enter the competition by 15 December 2007 for high school participants and by 19 January 2008 for college participants.
Good luck to all of them.