Solar Plane

A solar-powered aircraft completed a 26-hour test flight Thursday in Switzerland. The Solar Impulse uses nothing but the sun to power its engines—no fuel and no pollution. The design team hopes the plane will one day circle the globe.

The Solar Impulse stretches 206 feet at the wingspan and is 72 feet long. Its top speed is 43 miles per hour. During the day, solar power propels the engines while also charging batteries. Those batteries are then used to power the aircraft at night.

After this test flight’s success, another aircraft will be designed to fly across continents and the Atlantic Ocean, perhaps as early as next year.


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