Everyone knows that spacecraft reentering the Earth's atmosphere generate dangerous amounts of heat. But approaching the problem from a decidedly different angle, one Japanese scientist wants to know if a one ounce paper airplane launched from the International Space Station would face a similar problem. He has a plan:
Experiments this year in a hypersonic wind tunnel proved that a prototype can survive speeds of Mach 7, or seven times the speed of sound, and temperatures of nearly 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The plane is so light, he says, it would generate little friction and heat when it hit the atmosphere. Worldwide media coverage, he says, would help locate the aircraft, which carries greetings in 10 languages.