After 7 months on the ground, Solar Impulse 2 is ready to resume its around-the-globe trip

solar impulse flight 2
Solar Impulse
Switzerland’s Solar Impulse has an ambitious goal: The privately funded project wants to be the first team to circumnavigate the globe using a solar-powered fixed wing aircraft flown by a pilot. After an unexpected battery issue forced the mission to abort half-way through, the plane has been repaired, and the team, funded by entrepreneurs André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, is close to resuming their record-breaking flight.

The Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) departed Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in March of 2015 and flew successfully across Asia to Japan. The flight was grounded in Japan shortly due to weather before continuing onto Hawaii. During this last leg across the Pacific Ocean, Borschberg flew 4,481 miles over 117 hours, 52 minutes, setting world records for the longest solar-powered flight by time and by distance. Unfortunately, the long flight had a deleterious effect on the aircraft. The Si2 experienced a thermal failure with its batteries that caused the global trip to come to a quick end. The plane was grounded in July 2015 and underwent repairs in Hawaii.

After months of uncertainty, the Solar Impulse 2 is now ready to continue its journey across the globe. As reported on the Solar Impulse blog, the Si2 took its first post-repair training flight on February 26th following months of storage. The plane took off from Hawaii’s Kalaeloa airport, flew to 8,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean and remained in the air for 90 minutes. During its flight, the plane passed all maintenance checks, including stabilization and cooling tests, with flying colors. “It was a true relief to see Si2 back in the Hawaiian sky after the past months of uncertainty,” said Piccard.

With a successful test flight under its belt, the Solar Impulse team is looking forward to resuming their circumnavigation starting in April 2016. This target date gives them time to analyze the data collected from this first flight and conduct additional flights if needed.  April also provides them with enough daylight to power the solar-powered aircraft on multi-day flights.

Movies & TV

Chernobyl: 10 burning questions we still have after watching the HBO miniseries

If you're like us, after watching the HBO miniseries about the catastrophic nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, you still have many burning questions about what really happened. Here are some answers to those the series doesn't cover.
Mobile

T-Mobile and Sprint may sell $6 billion in assets to win merger approval

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.
Movies & TV

Prime-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite TV series currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (June 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures explosive galaxy, the site of three recent supernovae

Hubble's latest image is of the spiral galaxy NGC 4051 which is notable for having played host to a large number of supernovae: the first seen in 1983 (SN 1983I), the second in 2003 (SN 2003ie), and the most recent in 2010 (SN 2010br).
Emerging Tech

The grainy texture of Saturn’s rings reveals clues to their origins

New analysis of data from Cassini shows that Saturn's rings are not smooth, but rather are grainy in texture. Scientists believe that tiny moons within the rings cause materials to cluster and form clumps and straw-like patterns.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope gets upgrade to aid its hunt for habitable exoplanets

The Very Large Telescope is growing even bigger. The latest addition to the telescope's suite of instruments is a tool called NEAR (Near Earths in the AlphaCen Region) which will hunt for exoplanets in the nearby Alpha Centauri star…
Emerging Tech

Your smartphone could be the key to predicting natural disasters

A challenge for atmospheric scientists is gathering enough data to understand the complex, planet-wide weather system. Now a scientist has come up with a clever idea to gather more data using smartphones and Internet of Things devices.
Emerging Tech

Tormented robot pulls a gun on its creators in latest Boston Dynamics spoof

Boston Dynamics' remarkable robots often receive a good few shoves in its videos, and the eager mistreatment recently inspired a team of L.A.-based video artists to give its rather amusing take on the matter.
Smart Home

A new survey by Adobe shows an evolving market for voice applications

A new consumer survey conducted by Adobe Analytics has uncovered a growing desire for more diversity in voice-controlled applications and devices as well as growing engagement with voice ads.
Emerging Tech

Live long and prosper? Experimental compound could slow down the aging process

Want to extend your natural lifespan beyond its current limits? A metabolite of biomolecules — found in pomegranates of all places — could help slow the aging process. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Airbus’ new single-aisle jet has longest range in its class and a fancy cabin

Airbus has unveiled the design of its new A321XLR jet, an aircraft that it says will be capable of trips of around 5,400 miles, making it the world's longest range single-aisle airliner when it takes to the skies in 2023.
Computing

Google Calendar is back online. Here’s the latest on the outage

Google Calendar is down, and that means that instead of a day packed with back-to-back meetings and timely reminders, users are instead being treated to an error message. Here's the latest on the worldwide outage.
Emerging Tech

A tiny magnet accomplishes enormous feat, sets a new world record

A magnet housed in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has set a record for the strongest continuous DC magnetic field ever recorded. Here's why that matters to our future.