Solar Impulse 2, an aeroplane that operates on nothing more than solar power, has been slowly trekking across the United States in small trips as a part of its goal to travel all the way around the globe.
Image Credit: Getty Images
This weekend, it landed successfully at a landing strip in New York City, which marks the aeroplane’s last stop in the United States before it will attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean to get to Europe.
With a top speed of 60 miles per hour during the day, and 30 miles per hour at night, Solar Impulse is showing the world that it’s possible to fly an airplane with the power of the Sun by using 17,000 individual photovoltaic cells.
Solar Impulse 2 originated in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and it had flown from West to East until it finally arrived in Hawaii. Once there, it was evident that the power system had suffered damage and needed to be repaired.
Rather than attempting to fly again, the team decided to keep the plane grounded for the Winter and attempt flight again the following year (2016). The stranding lasted for a good nine months and delayed the global trip.
Once back up and running, Solar Impulse took off from Hawaii and landed in San Francisco, California, where it has been landing in various states, from West to East, across the country.
The Solar Impulse 2 team isn’t trying to convince the world that solar technology is going to be the next power source for airplanes, and it wouldn’t be because the top speed and passenger load of Solar Impulse 2 is nowhere near as economical as a commercial jet, but rather the plane’s point is to show that solar power is a useful energy resource and raise awareness for climate change.
There’s a long journey ahead to get Solar Impulse 2 across the Atlantic Ocean, so you can be assured the pilot is preparing himself.
Source: USA Today