The first crossing by air over the English Channel was in 1785, when French inventor Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American physician John Jeffries crossed the body of water using a hydrogen gas balloon.
Now, another milestone may be reached, as the world’s first solar-powered blimp plans to attempt the same feat.
Nephelios, built by Projet Sol’r, is a helium-filled airship that was designed by students at engineering and technical schools in France. The large aircraft is 72 feet long and 18 feet wide and features semi-flexible solar cells that can generate enough kilowatts to keep the blimp moving at 25 mph.
The cells power a motor that turns two propellers and the ship is expected to cross the Channel in under an hour. It took Blanchard and Jeffries about two and a half hours to cross the English Channel in 1785.
The inaugural flight could take place as early as next week. Do you think its journey will be a success?
Image: Project Sol’r