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

  • Vadim Ghirda / AP

    Photos of the Week: Water Festival, Candy Candidate, Uruguayan Gaucho

    Fashion in Pakistan, Ivanka Trump in Ethiopia, Holy Week celebrations in Spain, an aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan, Notre-Dame cathedral ablaze in Paris, spring skiing in Siberia, and much more

  • Wang Zhao / AFP / Getty

    Mars in the Gobi Desert

    Photographers were on hand as some of the first student groups arrived to tour this vision of Mars in China’s Gobi Desert.

  • Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty

    After the Fire: Photos From Inside Notre-Dame Cathedral

    Investigators and photographers were able to get a first look at the damaged interior.

  • Francois Guillot / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Devastation of Notre-Dame Cathedral

    A massive fire burned through the roof of one of Europe’s most visited historic landmarks today.