Chopper Drop Tests New Technology

NASA aeronautics researchers recently dropped a small helicopter from a height of 35 feet (10.7 m) to see whether an expandable honeycomb cushion called a deployable energy absorber could lessen the destructive force of a crash.

Researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are testing the "deployable energy absorber" with the help of a helicopter donated by the Army, a crash test dummy contributed by the Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., and a 240-foot (73.2 m) tall structure once used to teach astronauts how to land on the moon.

A sort of "honeycomb airbag" created to cushion future astronauts may end up in helicopters to help prevent injuries instead.