Imagine flying across the United States. Pretty nice, huh? Now imagine doing it using a solar powered plane that weighs the same as a car and has no washrooms.
That’s the mission of the Solar Impulse, the first solar powered plane to fly for 24 hours straight. That’s right. In the dead of night, a plane with the wingspan of a jumbo jet was propelled by solar energy, not jet fuel.
The trip from California to New York will take one month, with stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis and Washington D.C. Why one month you ask? The plane’s average speed is 43 mph (70 kph). So don’t book any flights on solar powered 747s anytime soon. However, the Solar Impulse team plans to fly around the world in 2015, using the same amount of power the Wright brothers used to fly for the first time in 1903. The Solar Impulse departs from Phoenix later this week.
Check out the Solar Impulse in action: