Walking on Sunshine

solar plane

A solar-powered plane has just completed a 26-hour flight, the nighttime portion of the flight being powered by the daytime portion – with power to spare.

With an average speed of 25 mph, solar-powered flight isn’t quite ready to render jet fuel obsolete; but it’s nice to see some progress on the power-sources-that-aren’t-depleted-by-use-and-don’t-cause-so-much-collateral-damage front.

, ,

8 Responses to Walking on Sunshine

  1. Raimundo July 8, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    According to the WikiNews article:

    “The project’s intention is to show that emissions-free air travel is a feasible concept; however, the team does not believe that current propulsion methods will be replaced by alternatives in the near future.”

    True some progress is being made, but I’m skeptical that it’s enough to get excited about.

    • Roderick July 8, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

      the team does not believe that current propulsion methods will be replaced by alternatives in the near future

      Which is just what I said in my post, right?

      Still, the ability to build a plane that can fly indefinitely without refueling seems worth getting excited about. Besides, from Kitty Hawk to the first nonstop transcontinental flight was only 20 years, so who knows what 2030 will bring us?

      • Richard July 9, 2010 at 5:34 am #

        I suspect that there will be hybrid versions first. It is tremendously uneconomical at the moment, since this plane cost an astronomical amount, and could only just carry one person. But a hybrid version would be more economical: Think of it: Above the clouds, it would be able to gather and store a good deal of power.

  2. NathanS July 9, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    This is a lot more interesting for blimps than planes. A fair amount of energy is used in producing the lift to keep the plane up. Eliminate that and you can devote more energy to forward propulsion, lighting, autonomous hotels, etc.

    Floating libertarian cities here we come.

    • Anon73 July 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

      And the first statist with a pea-shooter will bring libertopia down!

      • RWW July 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

        Self-repairing nanotechnology?

  3. Jeff G. July 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    Hey Roderick,

    What writing projects do you have in the works right now?


  4. DownsizeDC July 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Clicking through the links, I found these beautiful words: “The project is financed by private companies.”

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes