How A Solar-Powered Plane Flew For 24 Straight Hours Wednesday

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Image by © LAURENT GILLIERON - POOL/epa/Corbis

An experimental solar-powered plane successfully flew for 24 hours, fueled solely by the power of the sun. So do we have some sweet seat sales coming our way, or what?

The answer to that would be no, not anytime soon anyway. While the flight of the experimental plane, Solar Impulse, in Switzerland is being called a “milestone,” the team that designed the plane doesn’t see it becoming the norm quite yet, according to the Associated Press. (See pictures of the plane in flight.)

The emissions-free plane uses solar cells and the sun to fly, and has now proven that it can store enough power during the day to continue flying throughout the night. The plane is the result of years of planning and was designed as a way to promote energy-efficient technology.

A second round-the-world flight is now in the works but isn’t thought to happen until 2013.

So while this is a landmark flight for emissions-free travel, it looks we’re going to be flying in regular, fuel-powered planes for at least our next few vacations.

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