Google is carrying out research on hypersonics, probably for new technologies to slash the cost of geothermal energy and tunneling. It could also be acquiring a Washington-based startup called HyperSciences that has already built prototype devices.
In January, Google signed a US $100,000 Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. The agreement says “Google’s research division is doing a conceptual exploration of hypersonic trajectories in high Reynolds number ablation regimes,” and calls for NASA to “perform an analysis of a hypersonic projectile traveling through dense atmosphere.”
Hypersonics refers to anything travelling five times the speed of sound or faster, and usually refers to extremely high speed aircraft or weapons, such as Boeing’s unmanned X51 scramjet or the new Russian ballistic missile that Vladimir Putin boasted about last week.