KARL GROSSMAN – Consider getting on to an airplane with nuclear-powered engines. Consider the consequences if an atomic airplane crashes. The Boeing Company last week received approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an airplane engine that combines the use of lasers and nuclear power. “Boeing’s newly-patented engine provides thrust in a very different and rather novel manner,” heralded Business Insider. It’s a leap into mad science—and backwards to a 1950s notion of nuclear-powered aircraft.