Chrysler, NASA Saddle Up Together

The title just about says it all. Chrysler, perhaps one of the worst run auto companies in recent memory, has teamed up with NASA. Yes, that NASA. I guess there are certain perks that come with being bailed out by the US government. Like teaming up with the world’s best funded space organization to develop technology as it pertains to both space shuttles and futuristic cars.

This news, on top of DARPA’s research project regarding a flying Hummer, of sorts, gives me hope. Hope for the future. Maybe I really will get a flying car some day after all.

Chrysler and NASA are specifically going to team up on composite materials, wireless technology, and batteries. All these materials can relate to both cars, and space shuttles, so maybe one day there will be a Dodge Charger space shuttle. Ok, stupid jokes aside, this is really important for Chrysler, more so than NASA I feel. NASA is always going to get funding, and President Obama is even supposed to be increasing NASA’s budget with an ultimate end goal of reaching Mars. Chrysler… I’m starting to feel like Fiat is the last chance the Pentastar has to survive. Maybe the government agrees?

Chrysler actually has a previous history with NASA. Chrysler built rocket boosters to the first Apollo flights into Earth orbit among other projects. Chrysler also developed lots of turbine technology for use in cars… but it never caught on. Cars like the 1961 Turboflite (pictured above) were pretty to look at, but never made it beyond concept cars. Still, it was the closest we ever came to flying cars. So close.

Applying space techology to cars would be, well, awesome. Composite materials like carbon fiber are light and strong, ideally suited for electric cars. Technology has already turned many cars into rolling computers, and it is only a matter of time before Internet becomes a standard feature on every car. And battery technology is one of the main reasons electric cars haven’t progressed into the mainstream. I’m not expecting miracles, but some of the stuff they are working on, like integrating shuttle navigation sensors into automotive safety systems could really alter the way we drive our cars.

Or fly them… into low Earth orbit.

Source: Wired | Image: Chrysler

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.