Sun-Powered 'Solar Impulse' Plane Survives the Night Sky
This morning, 26 hours after it first took off, the 207-foot wide aircraft touched down at Payerne airfield just south of Bern, the Swiss capital. As pilot Andre Borschberg brought the Solar Impulse out of the sky at 9 a.m. (3 a.m. EST), a crew rushed to the landing strip to help stabilize the craft before its enormous wings scraped the ground.
Don't get too excited, though. We're a long way from solar-powered jumbo jets shuttling us across the oceans. For one, despite its absurd wingspan (only slightly shorter than a 747's), the cockpit of the Solar Impulse is only big enough to carry a single person. The rest of the body, made of incredibly light materials and with only minimal insulation, is reserved for the 12,000 solar cells required to charge up the batteries.
Still, it impressively demonstrates the capabilities of current eco-friendly power sources. [From: AP and PhysOrg, via: DVice]