Article by Chris Price | 387 words
Solar Impulse, a project that’s tagged as “an idea born in Switzerland,” is a completely solar-powered, no-passenger aircraft set to circle the world. It will stop occasionally to switch pilots, who include men such as Bertrand Piccard and André Borschbeg. This duo wishes “to demonstrate that the actual alternative energy sources and new technologies can achieve what some consider impossible,” as SolarImpulse.org explains.
The Solar Airplane’s Journey around the World and into a Sustainable Future
The device has completed four of its twelve total destinations as of March 25, and it should circle the globe by August. The plane has a top speed of 50 miles per hour. Average commercial flights travel at a speed around 570 mph, which is over 11 times faster. But flying, although the quickest and most convenient method for long-distance traveling, has long been considered humanity’s most heinous environmental sin—and perhaps rightly so. “A fully laden A380, according to its’ engine maker Rolls Royce, uses as much energy as 3,500 family cars, equivalent to six cars for each passenger,” as FlyingClean.com explains. The lower speed of the Solar Impulse allows it to fly without unnecessary emissions.
Not to trivialize the massive distance between the capabilities of Solar Impulse and average commercial planes, in the long run (or fly), the project that launched in March could pilot future generations into a more globally sustainable and affordable way of traveling.
The Future of Solar-Powered Airplanes
The two limitations, which were mentioned previously, are time and space. Since we often surpass the solar plane’s top speed in our cars, its travel time may appear like a step backwards. And the inability to safely carry passengers in the first place is a clear sign that it needs further development before it can fulfill all our flying needs.
However, the successful completion of this project’s around-the-world feat would serve as something of a viable blueprint where small but significant steps forward could build upon this modern Wright Brothers-type experiment.
Plus, keeping up with either Solar Impulse directly or the up-and-coming solar plane industry could prove beneficial for investing in stocks. The canyon-like gap that Solar Impulse must cross to make a jet marketable for willing passengers could happen sooner rather than later. Budding technology sometimes offers great profits in the future when it comes to fruition.
For more information about the project and the ambitious individuals behind it, check out an official video from the Solar Impulse team:
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