Space station may launch 5300mph paper airplane

Here’s a sure sign that the International Space Station is a solution looking for a problem: The space platform might be launching a Space Shuttle-shaped paper airplane that will glide back to earth at 5300 miles per hour. The Japan Origami Airplane Association was tapped by researchers at the University of Tokyo to fold up a 3.1-inch plane made of specially treated paper that’s tough enough to fly in space and return to earth.

Before the fastest paper airplane in history is released on its historic journey, first it must survive an ultra high-speed wind tunnel test that will take place tomorrow, to see if the tiny craft can withstand the hellish heat and buffeting forces of re-entry. But damn, NASA. There’s not even any way to track the thing, as far as we can tell, so what’s the point? Other than it being just a cool thing to do, of course. But after this experiment is done, could we go to Mars already, or get cracking on that moon base we’ve been hearing about for the past four decades?


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