André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard took off from Abu Dhabi yesterday for the first leg of what they hope will be the first complete solar-powered circumnavigation flight.
Their bleeding edge plane, the Solar Impulse-2, will fly around the planet in a bit more than 5 months.
The aircraft is ultralight, has enormous wings, and totals over 7,000 solar panels. Carbon fiber composites, new solar panel techniques and last generation batteries allow the plane to stay in the air for long lengths of time, even at night. And crowd-sourcing is one of the backbones of this gargantuan project.
Bertrand Piccard got my full attention when I saw him in 2011. His grandfather was the first human being in the stratosphere, his dad plunged down a whopping 14.000 meter into the Challenger Deep, and Bertrand himself adventured around the world. Nonstop. In a balloon.
“It would be childish to think humanity will compromise on comfort levels, mobility and way of living. We need innovation to adapt the technology to fit the people and the planet’s needs. Not the other way around. We need to dare to innovate, and invent sources of energy and commodities that will support human life as we know it. Simply put, the next generation will have to save us, and the planet. Or not. Either way, nature won’t care”.
A bold statement from a passionate nature loving adventurer. An open invitation to start innovating using the power of Social Media, and the wisdom of the crowds. Piccard used crowd-sourcing to make his solar powered non-stop flight around the planet happen (more on www.solarimpulse.com ) .
What will you do today?