NASA Tried (And Failed) To Build Jet Shoes in the 1960s

The folks over at Popular Science have a new post about NASA's trials and tribulations in creating "jet shoes" during the mid-1960s. And they look straight out of some old science fiction comic.

First envisioned in 1965 by NASA engineer John D. Bird (the dashing guy in the hat and bowtie pictured above) the jet shoes were supposed to allow astronauts to zip around in zero gravity just like George Jetson. They were inspired by experiments that were already underway with flying platforms dating back to military research of the mid-50s.

The jet shoes could be activated by a toe-switch, leaving both of the astronaut's hands free to focus on more pressing tasks. They were tested extensively at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia, and we even have existing video from some of the tests that can be found on YouTube.

The jet shoes never took off, as it were. But you can read more about precisely how they were supposed to work over at Popular Science.

NASA Tried (And Failed) To Build Jet Shoes in the 1960s


Images: NASA and NASA research paper