The picture featured here is not hypermodern art. Generated by NASA’s high-performance computers, it shows a Transonic Truss Braced Wing (TTBW) aircraft concept being tested in a virtual wind tunnel, showing how its wings interact with the air around them.

In this case, the dark red area along the front of the wing represents higher-speed airflow as the TTBW’s wings, which are thinner than those of today’s commercial airliners, pierce the air. The tan-colored area shows the relatively smooth wake generated by the aerodynamic wings.

A TTBW aircraft produces less drag due to its longer, thinner wings supported by aerodynamic trusses. In flight, it could consume up to 10% less jet fuel than a standard airliner.

The Advanced Supercomputing Division of NASA’s Ames Research Centre created the image as part of an effort by the Transformational Tools and Technologies project to develop computational tools for TTBW research.

Image Credit: NASA / Oliver Browne