What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

World's First Solar-Powered Plane Can Fly At Night, Too

March 27, 2013, 8:00 AM
Shutterstock_77931862

What's the Latest Development?

Next month, the Solar Impulse -- a single-seater billed as the world's first solar-powered plane -- will fly from California to New York in an attempt to demonstrate its ability to fly nonstop, during daylight and nighttime hours, without needing any fuel. The plane's extra-long wings are covered in photovoltaic cells, and the power they generate feeds four electric motors. Other test flights done so far include a 26-hour journey over the Swiss Alps and a trip from Spain to north Africa.

What's the Big Idea?

Although solar-powered commercial flights aren't coming anytime soon, the Solar Impulse's co-creator and pilot Andre Borschberg says that their plane was designed "to push people's assumptions about what solar technology can do." In order to achieve their goal of a plane that could fly through the night, the design team had to make it weigh less than a typical car, which involved stripping the cockpit down to its bare essentials and leaving out such things as pressurization, heating, and even a separate toilet. In addition, it has a top speed of only 50 miles per hour. Still, Borschberg's description of flying the Solar Impulse makes it sound like a truly unique experience: "The contact with the external world is much more intense."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at NPR

 

World's First Solar-Powered...

Newsletter: Share: