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Test Run: Solar-Powered Plane To Go Round-The-World

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Bertrand Piccard and the 'Solar Impulse'

Bertrand Piccard and the 'Solar Impulse'

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In 2012, a Swiss adventurer by the unlikely name of Piccard plans to go boldly where no one has gone before--namely, around the world in a solar-powered airplane. To be sure, we've seen solar employed in concept vehicles and in limited ways by consumer autos like the 2010 Toyota Prius. However, that's a far cry from hitting 27,000 feet in a plane that weighs only slightly more than a Ford Taurus SHO. Then again, adventurousness runs in Piccard's family: Star Trek's "Jean-Luc Picard" was, in fact, an homage to Bertrand Piccard's grandfather. We're looking forward to watching this play out--from the ground, of course.

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