The Elaborate Quest to Fly a Solar-Powered Plane Around the World
By Mark Wolverton
If, one day, you find yourself driving an electric car that recharges its featherweight high-capacity lithium batteries with sunlight collected from super-efficient solar cells covering its carbon-composite body, you'll have Solar Impulse 2 to thank. It's a plane powered by nothing but sunlight, and this March, Bertrand Piccard and his copilot, engineer André Borschberg, will take it on a 12-leg, multiweek flight around the world. The point, Piccard says, isn't to start selling solar-powered planes—he just wants to show what might be possible.
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