#49

On a Wing and a Photon: Solar Impulse Flies Across America

A solar-powered plane flies across the country to fire people up about renewable energy.

On May 3, Swiss psychiatrist and adventurer Bertrand Piccard settled into the one-man cockpit of a spindly plane with the wingspan of a 747. The propellers started, and he eased down the runway near San Francisco Bay. As the sun rose, he turned southeast toward Phoenix, 18 hours and 18 minutes away. 

Piccard could have driven to Phoenix faster. But his plane, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA, is meant to go slow.

ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
DSCNovCover
+

Log in to your account

X
Email address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it emailed to you.

Not registered yet?

Register now for FREE. It takes only a few seconds to complete. Register now »