Around the World on Sunshine: The Solar Impulse 2

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Swiss pilots and founders of the Solar Impulse project unveil their second plane, the Solar Impulse 2. They plan to fly the plane around the world.

Swiss pilots and co-founders of the Solar Impulse project, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, are showing the world what solar power can do. In a myth-busting historic moment, they recently unveiled their “Round-the-Word-Solar-Airplane,” the Solar Impulse 2. They will take turns flying the solar-powered plane around the world beginning in March 2015.

The Solar Impulse will fly from the deserts of the Persian Gulf, over India, Myanmar, and China, make two ocean crossings, and return to its starting point. Its 263-foot wingspan contains 17,000 monocrystalline silicon solar cells, and more than 2,000 pounds worth of lithium-ion batteries, weighing in at just over 5,000 pounds.

 

Borschberg was in the cockpit for the 2010 record-breaking flight. As reported by CNN, he says, “What we have now is the first airplane in the world which has unlimited endurance. It can fly a day and a night, it can fly a week, it can fly a month — theoretically it can fly a year. It’s the most energy efficient airplane ever built.”

 

Is this technological feat more science fiction than relevant fact? Or could this be just a very vivid example that uses for solar can be driven, or in this case flown, as far as our imagination and our will can extend?