From Wired:Paper Airplane Launched From Space Will Hit Mach 7 | Gadget Lab from Wired.com:
Paper Airplane Launched From Space Will Hit Mach 7
By Charlie Sorrel January 18, 2008 | 8:30:39 AMCategories: Toys, Transportation
We knew that the Japanese wouldn’t bother with boring old sensible experiments on the International Space Station. But commissioning a paper plane and launching it from space? Damn!
The 3.1 inch plane is in testing right now, and has been designed by the Japan Origami Airplane Association. According to Pink Tentacle, it is shaped like the space shuttle and will be able to stand up to the huge wind-buffeting of re-entry at Mach 7, or around 5300 mph. The temperatures of re-entering the atmosphere shouldn’t cause any trouble, though, as even these speeds are a lot lower than that of a Space Shuttle re-entry: Mach 20.
Why? Who cares? We can’t wait to see this on YouTube.
Maybe there is a real scientific explanation for this experiment, but I don’t care. It sounds too damn cool to not do.
As kids, my brother and I spent hours making paper airplanes–some for show, some to throw–and I still make them when I get bored at work (or asked to by a younger cousin). Launching a paper airplane from the space station just seems like the ultimate in paper airplaning.