Solar Impulse 2 smashes world record for the longest solo flight

solar impulse 2 smashes world record for the longest solo flight power
Bertrand Piccard
Solar Impulse 2 has set a new world record for the longest non-stop solo flight. Landing in Hawaii Friday morning local time, the sun-powered plane, piloted by Andre Borschberg, stayed in the air for 118 hours on its epic journey from the Japanese city of Nagoya.

Borschberg’s flight across five days and five nights smashes the previous 76-hour record set by Steve Fossett in 2006 when he circumnavigated the globe in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer.

Swiss-engineered Solar Impulse 2 has a wingspan of 72 meters (236 feet) – wider than that of a Boeing 747. More than 17,000 solar cells covering its wings power four electric motors to keep the 2,300-kg machine in the air. The ambitious project is designed to promote the use and development of green energy.

The zero-fuel aircraft, which is making its way around the world over the course of several months, began its journey in Abu Dhabi in March and has now completed 8 of 13 legs. Borschberg is taking turns with fellow Swiss national Bertrand Piccard to pilot the plane.

The mammoth flight from Japan to Hawaii will have been super tough – both physically and mentally – for Borschberg. The plane’s cockpit is just 3.8 cubic meters in size, and the need to keep a constant eye on the plane’s instruments means shut-eye will only have come in the form of occasional 20-minute naps. And then he had to land the thing.

Speaking about the unique aircraft in a National Geographic interview earlier this year, Piccard insisted the plane was special not because it’s powered by the sun, “but because it is efficient at harnessing energy, at storing energy, and at using energy.”

He added that he hopes the team’s mission to take the plane around the world will demonstrate the multitude of possibilities that its technology offers, technology he hopes will help to protect the environment and reduce dependency on fossil energy.

To find out more about Solar Impulse 2 or to see its current location as it makes its way around the world, check out the team’s website here.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Georgia is paving the way for a high-tech, sustainable highway

A consortium of government, corporate, and non-profit entities have come together to build a “smart” highway in Georgia. See how this 18-mile route is setting an example for future constructions.
Emerging Tech

Engineers in the U.K. unveil the world’s first graphene-skinned airplane

Engineers at the U.K.'s University of Central Lancashire have unveiled Juno, the world’s first graphene-skinned airplane, at an international air show. Here's why it is so exciting.
Emerging Tech

Airbus Zephyr solar aircraft breaks record for longest flight

A solar-powered Airbus aircraft has broken the record for the longest continuous flight. The Zephyr S stayed aloft for nearly 26 days, taking the aircraft a step closer to becoming a viable alternative to satellite technology.

You don’t need to go autonomous to make trucking safer

Long haul truckers are very good at their jobs, but they face long hours and unpredictable conditions. Autonomous tech may be coming, but here’s how lidar technology companies are working to enhance trucking safety today.
Emerging Tech

Be a master of your own ever-changing ‘galaxy’ with this kinetic wall art

Art Machine is a stunning work of kinetic art that looks like a continuously swirling galaxy or turbulent weather formation viewed through a ship's porthole. Check it out in all its glory.
Emerging Tech

Omega Centauri hosts 10 million stars and probably not an ounce of life

Omega Centauri is about 16,000 light years away, making it visible to the naked eye. And it contains some 10 million stars, making it the largest globular cluster in the Milky Way. But it probably doesn't have an ounce of life.
Emerging Tech

The world’s first practical quantum computer has cash and a timeline

The dream of building a practical quantum computer could be closer than ever, thanks to a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to seven universities around the United States.
Emerging Tech

Forget flying cars: This shoe-tying robot is proof that the future is here

Engineering students from the University of California, Davis, recently built a robot whose sole personality in life is to tie shoelaces. It cost them under $600 to do it as well!
Emerging Tech

Bizarre stork robot uses a drone to compensate for its weak, twig-like legs

Developed by engineers from Japan’s University of Tokyo, Aerial Biped is a robot whose top half is comprised of a flying quadrotor UAV that's rooted to the ground by thin stork-like legs.
Emerging Tech

A treasure trove of 3D scientific specimens is now free to see online

Thanks to the California Academy of Sciences, you can access more than 700 scientific specimens and artifacts from the world-class collection via the online 3D and virtual reality platform Sketchfab.
Emerging Tech

Lyd is a battery-powered, ‘no-spill’ bottle that is activated by your lips

Lyd is a battery-powered bottle that’s something like a sippy cup for adults. Its no-spill solution is a specialized lid that uses an algorithm to detect when your lips are on the bottle.
Emerging Tech

Cotton and corn! Reebok’s newest sneaker is ‘made from things that grow’

Keen to move away from using oil-based materials to make its footwear, Reebok has turned to cotton and corn for its latest sneaker. No dyes have been used to color the shoes, either, and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable.

Apple AR glasses will launch in 2020, says respected industry analyst

Apple AR glasses may be closer to reality than we thought. Here is everything we know so far about the augmented reality system, including the rumored specifications of Apple's Project Mirrorshades.