Solar Powered Plane Soars through the Night

Paul Lilly

Think you've gone green because you put your PC to sleep during coffee breaks? Try building a solar airplane capable of staying in flight for 24-hours, including night time.

Impossible? Pshaw! The Solar Impulse HB-SIA proved otherwise, which took off from a base in Switzerland at precisely 6:51 a.m. Wednesday and stayed in the air for 24 hours powered only by the solar energy it managed to corral during the daytime hours.

"24 hours and a successful flight through the night!," the Solar Impulse team posted on their Twitter account. "This is a milestone in putting fossil fuels behind us."

This particular milestone was seven years in the making, starting when a team of 70 designers, engineers, and other incredibly smart folk collaborated to create the first prototype of what would later become the Solar Impulse HB-SIA. And had it not been for a glitch with the telemetry transmitter, the feat would have been achieved a week ago.

"Goal achieved for SI. Historic moment. Jubilation here in Payeme, Switzerland!," read another tweet.

For more info, check out the project's homepage , blog , and Twitter account .

Image Credit: solarimpulse.com

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