Environment: Pre-Mortem on the SST

Even as Los Angeles struggled with its auto-emissions problem, word came from Cambridge, Mass., about a more widespread future emissions problem: nitrogen oxides from the SST. During the 1971 debate that led to the cutting off of U.S. Government funds for the supersonic transport, environmentalists had voiced fears that nitrogen oxides in the exhaust of the 1,800-m.p.h. aircraft might weaken the ozone shield that protects the earth from an overdose of the sun's ultraviolet rays. The charge was serious, but was it true? The U.S. Department of Transportation commissioned researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to find out. After two...

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