If you thought there was something solar power couldn’t do, think again, because the sun just carried an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean.
Early Thursday morning, Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard successfully landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Spain after a four-day journey that began in New York. All the while, the scrappy little plane, powered by 17,000 solar cells, emitted no pollution and guzzled no fuel.
This flight was the latest leg in a round-the-world journey set to end in Abu Dhabi, and is particularly symbolic “because all the means of transportation have always tried to cross the Atlantic,” Piccard told the Guardian.
With seating room for one, the Solar Impulse — which has a larger wingspan than a Boeing 747 but is lighter than a car — isn’t going to start ferrying the environmentally-conscious across The Pond any time soon. Besides, sitting upright in an unheated, unpressurized cabin for four days sounds a tad worse than flying coach.
But the goal of the epic journey, Piccard added, “is not to change aviation, but to inspire people to use [renewable] technologies.”
Well, that, and snapping the best cockpit selfie, ever.