Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Swiss to make first solar plane

ICARUS crashed and burned when he flew too close to the sun, but now a Swiss adventurer wants to carve out a place in history by harnessing solar energy to fly a state-of-the-art plane around the world.

So far, the plane to be used by 47-year-old psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard exists only in the computers of the researchers at the Lausanne polytechnic.

There, a team of about 50 scientists are working on the 40-million-euro ($86.2m) project, funded by four sponsors who so far remain in the shadows.

But Mr Piccard, grandson of explorer and pioneer aeronaut Auguste Piccard, is determined his dream dubbed 'Solar Impulse' will get off the ground.

His ambition is 'to use a great human and scientific adventure to help sustainable development and the survival of our planet'.

Copyright: afp

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