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

  • NASA

    Apollo 11 Moon Landing: Photos From 50 Years Ago

    Fifty photos of the historic Apollo 11 mission on the 50th anniversary of that “giant leap.”

  • Charles Platiau / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Crocodile Kiss, Glacier Blanket, Bear Cemetery

    Cliff diving in Beirut, “swan upping” in London, protests against Puerto Rico’s governor, underwater violin in Malta, flooding in Louisiana, the Winegrowers Festival in Switzerland, and much more

  • Corey Raffel / Audubon Photography Awards

    2019 Audubon Photography Awards

    Some of the best bird photography of the year—a collection of the 2019 winners and runners-up.

  • Ed Jones / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The 2019 Artistic-Swimming World Championships

    Scenes from above and below the water of the artistic swimmers at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in South Korea