Zeppelins stopped flying after the Hindenburg disaster. Now scientists want to bring them back.
Article By Jeremy Deaton
Photo credit: Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images
The proposed airships would move cargo more efficiently than oceangoing freighters — and produce far less pollution.
The age of huge, ocean-crossing zeppelins came to an end in 1937, when the Hindenburg — the largest craft of its type ever built — erupted in flames while landing in New Jersey. Dozens died.
Now, more than 80 years later, the giant airships may be poised for a comeback — not for passenger service, but as an environmentally friendly means of delivering goods around the globe.
As proposed in a recent scientific paper, the new airships would be 10 times bigger than the 800-foot Hindenburg — more than five times as long as the Empire State Building is tall — and soar high in the atmosphere. They’d do the work of traditional oceangoing cargo ships but would take less time and generate only a fraction of the pollution.
“We are trying to reduce as much as possible emissions of carbon dioxide because of global warming,” said Julian Hunt, a postdoctoral fellow at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, and the paper’s lead author.
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