NASA has captured unprecedented photos of the interaction of shockwaves from two supersonic aircraft, part of its research into developing planes that can fly faster than sound without thunderous “sonic booms”.
When an aircraft crosses that threshold — around 1,225 kilometers (760 miles) per hour at sea level — it produces waves from the pressure it puts on the air around it, which merge to cause the ear-splitting sound.
In an intricate maneuver by “rock star” pilots at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, two supersonic T-38 jets flew just 30 feet (nine meters) apart below another plane waiting to photograph them with an advanced, high-speed camera, the agency said.
The rendezvous — at an altitude of around 30,000 feet — yielded mesmerizing images of the shockwaves emanating from both planes.
With one jet flying just behind the other, “the shocks are going to be shaped differently”, said Neal Smith of AerospaceComputing Inc, an engineering firm that works with NASA, in a post on the agency’s website.
“This data is really going to help us advance our understanding of how these shocks interact.”
Sonic booms can be a major nuisance, capable of not just startling people on the ground but also causing damage — like shattered windows — and this has led to strong restrictions on supersonic flight over land in jurisdictions like the United States.
The ability to capture such detailed images of shockwaves will be “crucial” to NASA’s development of the X-59, the agency said, an experimental supersonic plane it hopes will be able to break the sound barrier with just a rumble instead of a sonic boom.
A breakthrough like that could lead to the loosening of flight restrictions and the return of commercial supersonic planes for the first time since Concorde was retired in 2003.
Some countries and cities banned the Franco-British airliner from their airspace because of its sonic booms.
WATCH: CNN displays the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause as Trump rambles about it being ‘phony’
Two days after intense pressure forced President Donald Trump to back down from his plan to host the 2020 G7 summit at his resort in Doral, Florida, the president dismissed the Constitution's anti-corruption clause—which his plan would have violated—as "phony."
"You people, with this phony Emoluments Clause," Trump told reporters at a White House press conference on Monday, responding to allegations that hosting the meeting of foreign leaders at his own property would be a conflict of interest.
Pompeo says Trump is ‘fully prepared’ to take military action against turkey — who is a NATO ally
Speaking to CNBC’s Wilfred Frost this Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Trump is ready to take military action against Turkey for its incursion into northeast Syria in the event that such action is "needed."
“We prefer peace to war,” Pompeo said on Closing Bell. “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.”
Pompeo declined to give specifics, saying that he doesn't want to "get out in front of the president’s decision about whether to take the awesome undertaking of using America’s military might," adding that economic and diplomatic "powers" could also be used.
WATCH: Ben Carson thanks God for Trump in bizarre prayer — and then asks Him to ‘Keep America Great’
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Monday opened up the White House cabinet meeting with a bizarre prayer that explicitly thanked God for the existence of President Donald Trump.
Carson began his prayer with a standard invocation thanking God for "the blessings that you have bestowed upon this country."
After that, though, Carson gave God a thumbs-up for the work He's done in putting Trump in the White House.
"We thank You for President Trump, who also exhibits great courage in face of constant criticism," Carson said. "We ask you give him strength to endure and wisdom to lead and to recognize you as the sovereign of the universe, with the solution to everything."