Flying Around the World in a Solar Powered Plane

The journey took a very long time—505 days to fly 26,000 miles (42,000 km) at an average speed of about 45 mph (70 kph)—but pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg successfully landed the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, after flying around the world using only the power of the Sun. Solar Impulse 2 is a solar-powered aircraft equipped with more than 17,000 solar cells that weighs only 2.4 tons with a wingspan of 235 ft (72 m). Technical challenges, poor flying conditions, and a delicate aircraft all contributed to the slow pace. Gathered here are images from the record-setting circumnavigation, undertaken to help focus the world’s efforts to develop renewable energy sources.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Peter White / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Firefly Forest, Husky Club, Turnip Toss

    Frustration at the Australian Open, a light show in London, Republic Day parade rehearsals in India, snow cover in Yosemite Valley, anti-government protests in Peru, and much more

  • Yannick Gouguenheim / Ocean Art

    Winners of the 2022 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest

    Some of the top images from the 14 categories of underwater photography in this year’s competition

  • Toby Melville / Reuters

    2023 Lunar New Year Celebrations

    People around the world ushered in the Year of the Rabbit with displays of fireworks, family get-togethers, temple visits, and street festivals.

  • Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Epiphany Dips, Pet Blessings, Chicken Feet

    A theater festival in Chile, horses leaping through flames in Spain, a Russian missile strike in Ukraine, a green field in Saudi Arabia, and much more