TECH
09/03/2015 07:37 GMT | Updated 10/03/2015 07:59 GMT

Solar Powered Plane Begins Epic Round-The-World Journey

A solar powered aircraft has begun a record-breaking attempt to travel around the globe. Solar Impulse 2 took off from Abu Dhabi and is now heading east to Oman.

With a wingspan of 72m, the aircraft is wider than a Boeing 747 despite being just a single-seater aircraft. The lonely role of pilot will be shared by Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard.

The two pilots will have to circle the planet using only the power of the sun. This will be harnessed by a massive 17,000 solar panels which have been layered over the tops of the wings.

solar impulse 2

Weighing over 2 tonnes and with a top speed of just 70km/h, Solar Impulse 2 hasn't been designed for speed. Instead the plane will be the focus of a global campaign to promote future energy production methods including solar energy.

As the price of solar panels drops enormously, the sun will eventually become the dominant source of energy production by 2050.