The Solar Impulse airplane landed in Switzerland this morning after a 26-hour flight that proved that a solar-powered airplane can fly in darkness. The propeller plane has nearly 12,000 solar cells on its 207-foot lightweight carbon-fiber wings. The cells stored enough energy between takeoff at 7 a.m. yesterday and nightfall last night to get pilot André Borschberg through the night at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet.

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The next step for the Solar Impulse project will be a trans-Atlantic flight using a new prototype plane. Commercial solar flight, sadly, remains a long way off: the Solar Impulse travels at 43 miles per hour and carries just the pilot. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and this team is making the kind of trail-blazing progress that will show others that solar flight — in the dark! — can be done.

+ Solar Impulse

Via Daily Mail