NASA Captured Supersonic Shockwaves In A Stunning Image

By , in News Sci/Tech on . Tagged width: ,

NASA captured images of two supersonic shockwaves merging in the ais, and the pictures are truly impressive. In fact, even NASA researchers are mesmerized by the results.

“We never dreamt that it would be this clear, this beautiful,” says JT Heineck, a physical scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “I am ecstatic about how these images turned out. With this upgraded system, we have, by order of magnitude, improved both the speed and quality of our imagery from previous research.”

The images are stunning and they could compete in any photography contest, undoubtedly. In the pictures, we can see two T-38 from the US Air Force. The planes were flying at supersonic speeds, and they were less than 9 meters away.

NASA Snapped Supersonic Shockwaves In A Stunning Image

“What’s interesting is, if you look at the rear T-38, you see these shocks kind of interact in a curve” explained Neal Smith, a research engineer with Aerospace Computing Inc at the Ames Research Center. This is because the trailing T-38 is flying in the wake of the leading aircraft, so the shocks are going to be shaped differently. “This data is really going to help us advance our understanding of how these shocks interact,” the researcher added.

Once a plane goes over the speed of sound, it goes through the barrier of resistance, and it causes a shockwave. It was not simple for scientists to research supersonic shockwaves, as they are incredibly loud, and they create sonic booms.

“We’re seeing a level of physical detail here that I don’t think anybody has ever seen before,” says Dan Banks, an engineer at NASA Armstrong. “Just looking at the data for the first time, I think things worked out better than we’d imagined. That is a very big step.”