Can The Sun Fuel A Flight Around The World?

More From This Episode

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting There.

About Bertrand Piccard's TEDTalk

Explorer Bertrand Piccard explains why he's aiming to carry out an unprecedented mission: to circle the planet in a solar-powered airplane.

About Bertrand Piccard

Bertrand Piccard was born in a family of firsts. In the 1930s, his grandfather, Auguste, was the first to balloon into the stratosphere.

Thirty years later, Auguste's son, Jacques, was on the first team to reach the Mariana Trench, the deepest point of the ocean.

Then in 1999, Bertrand and his co-pilot completed the first nonstop circumnavigation of the globe by balloon, flying nearly 28,000 miles in 20 days.

Now, a team of scientists and engineers around Piccard and co-pilot André Borschberg is building Solar Impulse, an aircraft powered by solar energy. The prototype has the weight of a car but the wingspan of an airbus.

Solar Impulse has successfully flown from Spain to Morocco and across the United States. The next mission: circumnavigation.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.