Every now and again a project comes along that captures the eye and the imagination. Not just because it involves a spectacular flying machine or even a daring mission fraught with danger. No, this project tweaks the mind because it’s audacious in its proposal and generates a massive challenge to those taking part. Put simply, when the project started the proposal was seen as impossible.
In a world depending on fossil energies, the Solar Impulse project is a paradox, almost a provocation: it aims to have an airplane take off and fly autonomously, day and night, propelled uniquely by solar energy, right round the world without fuel or pollution. An unachievable goal without pushing back the current technological limits in all fields…
The team’s inspiring philosophy is offered by Betrand Piccard below as a presentation to www.TED.com.
At each major premiere, the adventurers of the last century pushed back the limits of the impossible. Today, human and technical enquiry must go on, with a view to improving the quality of life for humanity. By writing the next pages in the history of aviation with solar energy, as far as a flight around the world without fuel or pollution is concerned, Solar Impulse’s ambition is to contribute in the world of exploration and innovation to the cause of renewable energies. To demonstrate the importance of the new technologies in sustainable development, and of course, once again, to place dream and emotion at the heart of scientific adventure.