It’s probably been a long time since flying amazed you. Air travel tends to feel like an inconvenience these days—not a miracle of engineering. This is partially due to market forces and security theater. It’s also the fact that aircraft design itself hasn’t changed dramatically in decades.
But for the past six years, 130 NASA employees have been hard at work on a laundry list of new airplane technologies that could change how planes are designed. The program is called ERA, or Environmentally Responsible Aviation, and its mission is to dramatically reduce air travel‘s environmental footprint by slashing plane emissions by 75 percent and reducing the fuel they consume by half. Another goal? To drastically cut down noise pollution, the primary impediment to expanding or building new airports. Oh, and push a list of emerging technologies, each designed to accomplish these goals, into the mainstream fleet. By 2025.