FEB 15, 2017 02:30 PM PST
Why Can't We Fly a Plane Into Space?
WRITTEN BY: Jennifer Ellis
2 7 526

What stops a plane from flying higher into space? As a plane is propelled forward, the air going under the wings creates lift so the plane can fly. As a plane goes higher, the air gets thinner and cannot create as much lift. If the plane goes faster, it can create enough lift to stay in the air but eventually the air gets too thin for any lift at all. In addition, oxygen becomes less abundant the higher you go. This is an issue for planes (but not for rockets) since plane engines need oxygen for combustion of fuel.

The highest a plane has been able to fly is on record of flying to a height of 85,069 feet. At this height, the air density is just 2% of that at sea level, meaning the plane had to fly at a speed of mach 3.2 to stay in the air. In addition, the pilots in this plane had to wear a full pressure suit with oxygen supply. At low pressure and low oxygen as one might experience at this height, a person's blood will boil as nitrogen in the blood turns to gas in a low pressure atmosphere.

(Video: Curious Droid)
About the Author
  • I love all things science and am passionate about bringing science to the public through writing. With an M.S. in Genetics and experience in cancer research, marketing and technical writing, it is a pleasure to share the latest trends and findings in science on LabRoots.
You May Also Like
MAY 14, 2018
Videos
MAY 14, 2018
Running on a Treadmill vs. Running Outdoors
Is it better to run on a treadmill or outdoors? Apparently, the differences are not only personal preferences but health advantages as well. For one, runni
MAY 18, 2018
Videos
MAY 18, 2018
Tips for Reducing Your Melanoma Risk
Each year, more people are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer than every other kind of cancer combined. It's not just about having a pesky spot remove
MAY 29, 2018
Videos
MAY 29, 2018
Are Manicures a Skin Cancer Risk?
Spending a day having a relaxing spa manicure sounds like a great way to reduce stress and get your hands looking good again, but you might want to hold of
JUN 04, 2018
Videos
JUN 04, 2018
What is the South Atlantic Anomaly?
As satellites orbit the Earth, they must be careful to shut down while passing through particular areas. One of such areas is the South Atlantic Anomaly, w
JUN 11, 2018
Videos
JUN 11, 2018
This is What Happens to the Body After Death
Death can be a taboo topic that most people don’t like discussing, but there’s undoubtedly a scientific interest in what happens to the body af
JUN 19, 2018
Health & Medicine
JUN 19, 2018
Beach Season Diet and Fitness Tips
  Come out, come out, wherever you are. Summer is nearly upon us, and you can’t hide under layers of sweaters and coats anymore. It’s beac
Loading Comments...