Airships are in the news today, with a big article in the NY Times about the latest uptick of commercial interest in lighter-than-air transport.
Of course, somebody’s always trying to reanimate Zeppelins, but so far all those attempts have ended in failure (except as tourist attractions). So why would anyone think that this time will be different?
Well, here’s the thing about airships: they float, so you don’t expend energy to keep them in the air. They move much slower than planes, but they eat less fuel per pound carried. As oil becomes more expensive—not to mention destructive to our planet and our foreign policy—that advantage becomes bigger, and bigger, and bigger . . .
So maybe airships aren’t viable right now. But does anyone think that in the long term, oil’s going to get cheaper? Sure! Because the middle east will stabilize, the Chinese will decide they don’t really want cars, and Americans are going to stop wasting fuel at every possible opportunity! But just in case that stuff doesn’t happen, we may find Zeppelins in our future. The French post office is already looking at them for freight transport, as is DARPA, the US military’s mad-scientist group.
There are lots of cool pictures in the article, but one really caught my eye. A French architect named Jean-Marie Massaud has designed a lighter-than-air hotel that looks a bit like a whale. As you might suspect from the title, so does the airship in Leviathan!
I’m still sworn to secrecy on Leviathan art, but here’s Massaud’s vision:
Pretty cool, huh?
Must write now. At 56,717 words, about 20,000 to go!