The Solar Impulse, the first solar-powered airplane that can fly at night.
(Credit: Solar Impulse/Screenshot by Michelle Meyers/CNET)

Tackling an around-the-world plane flight — without fossil fuel

Adventurers discuss challenges faced in bid to become first to circumnavigate the globe without fossil fuel in the Solar Impulse, first solar-powered plane that can fly at night.

by Steven Musil December 2, 2012 1:00 PM PST

One might say Bertrand Piccard has daring adventure in his blood.

The 54-year-old Swiss balloonist’s grandfather set an altitude record, while his father was one of the first people to explore the deepest part of the world’s oceans. But now Piccard and his partner Andre Borschberg are aiming to enter the record books with an around-the-world flight in a solar-powered plane that can fly at night without fossil fuel.

Piccard and Borschberg spoke with Bob Simon for a “60 Minutes” report to be broadcast tonight about the Solar Impulse, a slender aircraft that weighs only about as much as a midsize car but that has a wingspan to match that of a jumbo jet.

After becoming the first person to complete a nonstop balloon flight around the globe, Piccard spent 10 years raising the $120 million necessary to build the aircraft he hopes will achieve the feat in 2015. He hopes such a trip will intensify the public’s focus on harnessing solar power.

Read more: Tackling an around-the-world plane flight — without fossil fuel | Cutting Edge – CNET News.

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