Iron Man and Star Lord have them, and you've wanted them since you were six years old. What am I talking about? Clearly, it's rocket boots.
Rocket boots are a staple of a plethora of science fiction and superhero movies, but are they actually technologically feasible in the real world? Well, according to one professor - yes, absolutely.
Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik recently chatted with Dr. Larry Silverberg of NC State University. Silverberg isn't just some crackpot inventor who lives in a shed, he is in fact a researcher in the matters of "aerodynamics, propulsion, space exploration systems, energy systems, structural mechanics, dynamics, vibrations, controls." When asked if rocket boots are possible he simply replied:
No question, it's possible.
He's even seemingly solved one of the biggest hypothetical issues with rocket boots: staying upright and not being thrown through the air like a supersonic rag-doll.
The answer, it seems, was found in the humble, and let's face it, slightly irritating Segway. The Segway uses a series of gyros, sensors, feedback, and motors to keep the device constantly upright. Silverberg suggests something similar could be applied to rocket boots. In this sense, real rocket boots are unlikely to feature one major thruster located under the heel - as classically imagined - but more likely to feature a gimbaled exhaust nozzle which can provide thrust in various directions.
He also theorized that the boots would have to be at least thigh-high in length, as the knee would have to be locked in place to prevent injury.
However, as always, there are some major 'buts.'
Most of them concern providing the boots with a large enough fuel source to allow continued flight. Unfortunately, this is an issue Dr. Silverberg has yet to crack, instead he suggests his rocket boots would allow you to perhaps jump 20-stories high, but could not provide sustained levitation. Still, that's cool enough, right?
What do you think? Can you imagine rocket boots becoming a reality?
Rocket boots sound...