Ever wondered if your body would break, shatter or bend if a plane you were travelling in crashed to the ground? It’s a morbid thought, but one that could revolutionise the future of both commercial air travel and our planned journeys into deepest, darkest space – and NASA is hunting for the answers.
To showcase the various ways humans could be destroyed during air and space travel, NASA’s Langley Research Center has published a video showing what happens to crash-test dummies being, well, crash-tested. By which we mean being subjected to purposefully engineered aviation ‘accidents’, in everything from airplanes to space capsules. This isn’t just mindless hijinks – the experiments are designed with improving aircraft and spacecraft safety in mind, with the end-game of reducing the potential for human injury.
The space agency released footage of the lifelike dummies – think nude-coloured ‘skin’, painstaking proportions and NASA uniforms – being dropped from a height in a cylindrical tube resembling a cross-section of a commercial aircraft, as well as footage of an ‘actual’ (read: carefully contrived) plane crash.
The YouTube video in question gives us mere mortals the chance to watch with horror – or alacrity, depending on your empathy levels – as the human-sized dolls, strapped into the seats of various aircraft and spacecraft, slump lifelessly to the floor upon impact.