Solar Impulse plane lands, completing world's first intercontinental flight powered by the sun (photos)

Photo: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

The Solar Impulse plane project president and pilot Bertrand Piccard lands after a 19-hour flight from Madrid at Rabat's International airport, June 5, 2012. The plane landed in Morocco on Tuesday, completing the world's first intercontinental flight powered by the sun to show the potential for pollution-free air travel.

More about the successful completion of the project here.

Photo: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

Crew members check the Solar Impulse plane after it landed following a 19-hour flight from Madrid at Rabat's International airport, June 5, 2012.

Photo: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

The Solar Impulse plane's project president and pilot, Bertrand Piccard (L) celebrates with co-founder and CEO Andre Borschberg (R) and Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) CEO Mustapha Bakkoury after the plane landed.

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  1. I think this is way cool but what exactly was the flight path from Madrid to Morocco? Isn’t 19 hours a really long time for that distance?

    1.  “Why the flight path from Madrid to Morocco?”
      -Because in summer there are nearly zero clouds over Spain and Morocco.

      “Isn’t 19 hours a really long time for that distance?”
      – Yes, it´s a freaking long time.

      1.  There is a misunderstanding here: the real achievement is to not drop like an anvil at those speeds.

          1. The primary source of gravity which produced signficant planetary heating of the earth would have been from the sun. The latent heat, likewise, originally came from the sun. As did the radioactive materials.

            So yes, geothermal does ultimately come from the sun.

          2. The primary source of gravity which produced signficant planetary heating of the earth would have been from the sun.

            That’s not how gravity works. Nor is it how latent heat works. I’ll give you the radioactive materials.

        1. Geothermal energy comes from the same place the sun came from (the material that eventually formed into the solar system) but that is completely different from coming from the sun.

    1. The earth isn’t a closed system, it’s powered by the sun!
      So f”’ those damn creationists, doomsday, get my gun!

  2. …project president and pilot, Bertrand Piccard…

    The man gets around, doesn’t he?

  3. Finally, one less thing I’ll potentially have to feel guilty about for flying out to see the fam!

  4. Hmm. “Intercontinental Flight” stuns me. Invokes Lindbergh, Earheart et. al.
    Still, said continents are a mere 14kms apart…

    Reminds me of a visit to Istanbul, where I once  jumped (backwards!) from Asia
    to Europe :-)

    1. “Still, said continents are a mere 14kms apart…”

      Way to take the solar out of my sails.

  5. Meh — look up and read Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “Sunjammer” (alternate title: “The Wind from the Sun”) if you want to talk about real solar-powered travel. 

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