Daily VideoApril 14, 2014
Swiss aviators unveil solar-powered airplane
After 12 years of research and testing, two Swiss aviators recently unveiled the Solar Impulse-2, a huge airplane that runs on solar-power.
It’s wingspan is wider than a Boeing 747, often referred to as the Jumbo Jet, but weighs no more than a large car. The plane is covered with more than 17,000 solar cells.
The designers and pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg have made several long trips on a previous version of the plane– including a flight across the Mediterranean — from Switzerland to Morocco. They say the new plane is even better.
“We have the best electrical motors, the best batteries, the lightest possible structure, the most efficient consuming electricity products in the airplane cockpit,” said Piccard.
Next year, the two plan to fly the plane around the world; a 500 hour journey over the world’s vast oceans, half of it at night … in the dark. However, they expect that the solar cells can harness enough energy from the sun to keep the plane on course.
Warm up questions
- How many gallons of gas do you think it takes to fly a plane for 10 hours?
- What sources of energy do we use? Where do they come from?
- How does solar energy compare to other sources of energy in terms of its cost to the environment?
- Do you think that all planes will fly on solar power in the near future? Is that realistic?
Imagine that you are the head of a plane manufacturing company. Weigh the risks and benefits of a solar-powered plane compared to a traditional gas-powered plane. Would you choose to put money into research and development (R&D) for solar powered planes or would you continue to keep your money invested in making the same gas-powered planes.
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Invasive lionfish have devastating effects on native species and ecosystems in the Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, but robotic technology offers a new way to stem their spread. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
The third party candidate Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party says she remains the only candidate in the presidential race who is not corrupted by lobbyists’ money, corporate money or super PACs. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
The large disparity in campaign spending between presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump highlights the differences between the candidates’ campaign strategies.Arts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
The first-ever Refugee Olympic Team competed in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
July was recorded as the planet’s hottest month since records began more than 100 years ago, prompting some to question the influence of climate change will have on weather. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld