Solar Impulse, the world's first single passenger solar-powered airplane has come a long way since its first flight in 2009, when it rose a mere 3 feet above the ground and flew for just 1,150 feet in the 30 seconds it was in air. In 2012, the elegant green flying machine successfully completed an intercontinental trip from Europe to Africa and on July 6th, 2013, added another feather or should we say 'wing' to its cap, with a flight across the United States of America.
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This weekend Space buffs are in for a special treat - On July 22nd 2012, an asteroid the size of a city block will zip past earth in its closest approach since it was discovered in 2002. Estimated to be between 2,000 to 4,500 feet wide, the Asteroid 2002 AM31 will get within 4.65 million miles or about 14 times the moon's distance from Earth.
While the idea of harnessing the sun's energy for fuel has been around since the 1830's the impetus to use this free and clean source of power for commercial transportation seems to have accelerated lately. Just a month ago, the MS Turanor Planet Solar, became the first solar-powered boat to circumvent the globe and now, a single-passenger airplane has taken the green energy to the skies with a successful Intercontinental flight.
Swiss Engineer Raphael Domjan had a dream - To prove to the world that fossils fuels or wind power were not the the only solutions to powering sea travel by sailing around the world, in a vessel, that drew its energy solely from the sun.
On Sunday October 16, thirty-nine teams representing 21 countries, gathered in Darwin, Australia, to compete in the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge. The biennial 1,860 mile race is often called one of the world's greatest scientific adventures - One in which contestants battle the harsh conditions of the Australian Outback, behind the wheels of a solar-powered car.
Access to cheap and plentiful electricity is something most of us take for granted. However, such is not the case in many parts of the world, especially in third world countries, where the poor live in shanty homes that are often constructed from cardboard or other flimsy materials.
Green leaves are amongst the cheapest and most efficient creators of energy. In the presence of sunlight they are able to transform carbon dioxide and water into glucose - A process we call photosynthesis. While it sounds simple, trying to imitate this has been one of the holy grails for science for decades - Now, there may finally be a breakthrough.
Just like the Energizer Bunny, the Zephyr keeps going and going. However, this unmanned aircraft is not powered by an Energizer battery but, by Solar Power!