An Italian jeweler uses straw, stingray leather, and other materials in his standout designs…
Photo by Sotheby’s
“Drops of frozen wine from Eden’s vats” is how Ralph Waldo Emerson described rubies. The 19th-century American poet was not alone in feeling drawn to...

Solar-Powered Airplane Unveiled

  • Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
    Solar Impulse airplane. Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
    Solar Impulse airplane. Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
    Solar Impulse airplane. Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
    Cockpit. Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
    Gondola test. Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
    Solar Impulse airplane. Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
    HB-SIA official picture. Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
    Solar Impulse airplane. Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
    Solar Impulse airplane. Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
    Solar Impulse airplane. Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Stéphane Gros/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Le Truc/ Solar Impulse
  • Photo by Claudio Leonard/ Solar Impulse
  • Mary Grady

The Solar Impulse project, based in Switzerland, aims to build a solar-powered airplane capable of a round-the-world flight. In June, the team unveiled its first flying prototype, a lightweight single-seat aircraft with the wingspan of an Airbus--more than 200 feet. It carries more than 12,000 solar cells to charge a bank of batteries that power four electric motors. The prototype will begin flight tests this year, and the feedback from those experiments will be used to build a second aircraft, which will circumnavigate the world in 2012. Bertrand Piccard, who piloted the first round-the-world nonstop flight in a balloon, leads the project. The goal is to showcase the capabilities of alternative energy sources and encourage their use. (www.solarimpulse.com)

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