The world's first solar-powered plane capable of flying at night has completed a 26-hour test flight in the skies over Switzerland. The one-man aircraft, which resembles an enormous glider and has the same wingspan as an Airbus 340, relied on stored solar energy as it flew loops over Lake Neufchatel and nearby mountains at an average speed of 26 mph. It was developed by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard. This is a "wonderful achievement," says James Fallows in The Atlantic. Flying for more than day "without using a drop of gasoline" is a feat of human endeavor worth celebrating. Airline emissions are a "major environmental threat," says Sean McLachlan in AOL's Gadling blog, and we have to find some way of dealing with them. "Think of [this] as the modern equivalent of the Wright Brothers plane." Watch a news report on the test flight here:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- This week I learned the surprisingly dark origins of the Nobel Prize, and more
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- How foreign aid screwed up Liberia's ability to fight Ebola
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
Subscribe to the Week