The age of huge, ocean-crossing zeppelins came to an end in 1937, when the Hindenburg – the largest craft of its type ever built – erupted in flames while landing in New Jersey.
Now, more than 80 years later, the giant airships may be poised for a comeback – not for passenger service, but as an environmentally friendly means of delivering goods around the globe. The author of a new scientific paper suggests that replacing traditional oceangoing cargo ships with giant high-flying airships could significantly help slow down the pace of climate change by decarbonizing the industry. The new generation of airships would get around by riding the jet stream, a powerful air current that circles the globe.
While there is still a number of caveats for scientists to consider before this theory takes flight, revolutionizing today’s highly-polluting shipping industry by sending gently sailing, environment-friendly zeppelins to the skies may not be a bad idea after all.