NASA has just pulled back the curtains on its very first all-electric airplane X-57 Maxwell. NASA’s main intent for building the X-57 is to help push forward certification standards for the advancement of electric aircrafts.
Testing for the aircraft has already begun, and it’s trying to demonstrate how aircrafts could transition from traditional combustion engines to electric motors instead. The X-57’s design, however, isn’t yet complete; the final version is expected to have 14 propellers. This will be comprised of 12 high-lift motors around the edges of the wings, complemented by two larger, wingtip-mounted motors.
NASA is anticipating that the new design will be significantly more efficient in energy consumption and produce zero carbon emissions while making as little noise as possible. The U.S. Space agency hopes the tests will prove existing theories about the X-57, which will enable manufacturers to make their own commercial versions. The X-57 is currently in its “high-voltage functional ground testing stage,” according to NASA. “Testing is expected to start with low power, checking the startup and shutdown sequences and verifying that the new motor control software boots up and controls the motors as expected.”
In case you’re interested, NASA’s new Perseverance Mars rover has the same processor as Apple’s 1998 iMac.