In an effort to promote the use of alternative energy, the first solar-powered plane is well on its way to making its round-the-world tour.
After 13 year of invention and ingenuity, Swiss pilots Piccard and Andre Borschberg are beginning preparations to launch the tour in less than a week.
This from Agence France-Presse:
Their plane is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells built into its wings which, at 72 meters (236 feet), are almost as long as those of an Airbus A380 superjumbo. The light-weight carbon fibre aircraft weights on 2.3-tonnes, about the same as a family 4X4 or less than one percent of the weight of the A380.
The plane will travel at speeds of 50-100 kilometers per hour (30-60 miles per hour). The slower speeds will occur at night when there is a decrease in natural energy storage.
Once its round-the-world tour is launched, the pilots believe it should last roughly five months.