The Helios Aircraft
Look up in the air! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a … floating smile? That was many people’s first reaction to the Helios aircraft. The solar-powered prototype’s curve does resemble a smile, but this machine was about much more than trying to take smiley faces to the next level. The NASA-developed project was designed to operate at high altitudes for long periods of time, but by 2003, the aircraft was met with disaster. Turbulence caused the Helios to break apart and crash into the Pacific Ocean.
This is a mode of transportation that is extremely futuristic but also reliant on a more traditional way of getting around. This system has been referred to as a “bike path on steroids.” It would essentially create a network of biking paths that are inside massive tubes. Air circulation within the tubes would allow for more tailwind and boost bikers’ efficiency by as much as 90 percent. Researchers in Toronto have already been given the task of figuring out how to bring the biking system of the future to life, but things certainly aren’t going too well. While the idea initially launched with quite a bit of excitement, lack of funding has caused the project to come to a screeching halt.