Published on March 19th, 2012 | by James Johnson1
NASA Builds State-of-the-Art Zeppelin to More Closely Study Planets
NASA’s newest project Starsahde uses a disk-shaped screen that blocks light from the atmosphere, thereby giving astronomers a better view of distant planets. The problem with the project is that the starshade material must be lifted thousands of feet in the air and then hover there for hours at a time.
The solution? A pimped out 246-foot Zeppelin (bigger than a Boeing 747) that includes carbon-fiber struts and a nonflammable helium canopy.
Known as the Zeppelin NT or Eureka the airship isn’t your typical old-fashion Zeppelin, thanks to a four-propeller vectoring system that’s controlled by a joystick the ship can stop on a dime on any axis and then hover in place for up to two days.
NASA scientists also plan to attack an air-quality monitoring “nose” to the vessel which will allow them to measure carbon emissions as the zeppelin flies over Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Eventually the Eureka will be equipped with magnetometers to help California officials looks for and monitory fault lines. Next a gas analyzer will be used to check methane emissions.