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Captain Piccard unveils Solar Impulse HB-SIA solar-powered plane

Vlad Savov

You might have seen solar-powered planes before, but few of them come with as much world-changing ambition as the Solar Impulse. Launched in 2003, the project aims to demonstrate the viability of renewable energy sources by being the first to perform a manned flight around the globe using only solar power. The technology is nothing to scoff at, as the 200-foot wingspan features 12,000 photovoltaic solar cells bringing power to four electric motors. Captain Bertrand Piccard, one of the key men behind this project, is best known as one half of the first team to circumnavigate the world in a balloon in 1999. He hopes, together with partner André Borschberg, to repeat that achievement in Solar Impulse's next iteration, the HB-SIB, in 2012. Make it so, guys.

[Via Gizmag]

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