Very few people ever considered the possibility of a plane being completely reliant on solar energy. Such a plane would remove the need for tons of oil, and it would heavily reduce the amount of air pollution caused by planes. Solar Impulse recently made a plane that only used solar panels. It doesn’t have any oil, and it flies surprisingly well. Two pilots recently tested the plane
Another milestone for solar-charged travel was eclipsed last week when the solar-powered plane “Solar Impulse” landed in Morocco on June 5, 2012.
The plane took off from Madrid and landed safely in Morocco after an amazing 19-hour flight over the Straight of Gibraltar.
Flying dwarfs any other individual activity in terms of carbon emissions, yet more and more people are traveling by air. With no quick technological fix on the horizon, what alternatives — from high-speed trains to advanced video conferencing — can cut back the amount we fly?
In most departments I have excellent green credibility, and my carbon footprint is small. I have not owned a car in more than 20 years and commute to work by subway. I walk to the market and generally no longer buy produce flown in from far away. I recycle. I have an air-conditioner, but use it only on the hottest of days. I have gone paperless with all my bills.
But my good acts of responsible environmental stewardship are undercut by one persistent habit that will be hard to break, if it is possible at all: I am a frequent flyer, Platinum Card. Last year, I traveled nearly 100,000 miles of mostly long-haul travel. And that figure puts me in the minor leagues compared to legions of business consultants, international lawyers, UN functionaries — and even climate scientists — who certainly travel much more.
(Reuters) – A solar-powered airplane designed to fly day and night without fuel or emissions successfully made its first test flight above the Swiss countryside on Wednesday.
The Solar Impulse, which has 12,000 solar cells built into its wings, is a prototype for an aircraft intended to fly around the world without fuel in 2012.
It glided for 87 minutes above western Switzerland at an altitude of 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) with German test pilot Markus Scherdel at the controls.