A new inhabitant has just landed in Mountain View, California. And it's not a fast-growing Chatbot tech startup, or a software giant's latest outpost. This time around? Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane is calling Mountain View home. At least for now, where it just touched down right before midnight Sunday, after making the first two-and-a-half day flight across the Pacific, without a single drop of fuel. The solar-powered plane, which weighs about as much as an SUV, sent out some amazing photos and footage from its most recent leg on the epic adventure:
Contemplations about what might have been if Amelia Earhart had Twitter aside, the incredible flight certainly represents how clean technology could revolutionize the transportation industry. In the past three years alone, the team at Solar Impulse has made great strides in achieving the once unfeasible dream of traveling around the globe using only solar energy.
We first reported about the plane in 2013 (see our video above), when the electric plane departed Silicon Valley to travel across America. The founders of the Solar Impulse company, Swiss adventurers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, faced many setbacks when working to create a plane that could, in theory, soar through the sky forever. Even then, Bertrand told us he had his eyes set on the final goal of building a solar-powered airplane that could fly around the world.
And now, following their grounding in Hawaii since last summer (thanks to overheating issues), they're one step closer to that once impossible goal. The Mountain View landing is the completion of the ninth leg of their round-the-world trip — taking 62 straight hours in the sky — since the plane departed from Abu Dhabi in March of 2015. Up next, the team plans to embark from Mountain View this week, and then cross the Atlantic, returning to the Middle East by late summer. That, of course, could change due to the one thing researchers and engineers haven't managed to outsmart: weather.
Relive the journey with incredible footage here.