Quantcast

Swiss Firm to Embark on First Around-the-World Trip in a Solar Airplane

Business

How far can an airplane expect to travel without fuel?

Around the world, if you're talking about the Solar Impulse 2.

Leaders of Swiss firm Solar Impulse unveiled a new solar plane Wednesday and also discussed an ambition nobody has ever accomplished—to fly around the world in a solar plane in 2015.

[slideshow_deploy id='351641']

The Solar Impulse has a 236-foot-wide wingspan, with more than 17,000 solar cells covering those wings. The cells collect solar energy and store it in lithium polymer batteries that power the plane's four engines.

Co-founders and pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard don't appear too daunted by the goal they have established, and not just because they won't need to refuel. They have already broken eight world records for solar flights. Their solar planes achieved success in recent years, including the first night flight for a solar plane in 2010; a European flight in 2011; a flight across the Mediterranean Sea to Morocco in 2012; and a U.S. tour last year, flying over San Francisco, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Dallas, TX, St. Louis, MO, Washington D.C. and New York City. 

The trip around the world, or #RTW, as the company has dubbed it for the Twittersphere, is expected to take a total of 500 hours of flight time. They'll bring at least six oxygen bottles and have no pressurization system.

To the founders, that type of experience is worth potentially changing the face of flight.

"I've been educated at (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and this time spent in Boston led me to found startup companies," Borschberg said in a company video. "I know that dreams fuel innovation.

"I also know that human commitment and new technologies can really change the world."

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

The Solar Technology That Could Solve California’s Water Problem

Bill Gates-Funded Solar Toilet Converts Feces Into Soil Stabilizer

The Turbine That Could Transform Wind Energy by Flying the Highest

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Record flood water levels in Venice hit again on Sunday making this the worst week of flooding in the city in over 50 years.

Read More Show Less

By Brian Barth

Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less