Solar Impulse II. This plane can fly forever, powered by the sun!

ideas.ted.com

Bertrand Piccard plans to fly around the world in a plane that doesn’t use any fuel. Huh? Yep. This machine is equipped with 17,000 solar panels. He explains the logistics and mechanics — and shares some hopes and fears for the upcoming voyage.

Looks like 2015 will be a busy year for Bertrand Piccard. From March through August, the Swiss psychiatrist-turned-aeronautical-adventurer will fly around the world. The catch? He’ll be flying an airplane powered only by the sun. For up to six days straight, Piccard will journey as fast and far as he can. Then he’ll land and let fellow pilot André Borschberg take over. The pair will switch off in a journey that is expected to take six months, and will require the pilots to live in a cockpit that’s literally built for one.

Last month, Piccard unveiled the aircraft in which he and Borschberg will make their fuel-free journey. Solar Impulse 2 took 12 years to develop and test…

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