In Brief

Solar Impulse 2 plane completes first Atlantic crossing

Zero-fuel plane lands in Spain after becoming first solar-powered aircraft to make symbolic journey

Solar Impulse 2, the zero-fuel aircraft, has completed the first ever crossing of the Atlantic by a solar-powered plane and landed safely in Spain.

Its four-day trip started in New York on Monday. The plane will now continue to travel around the globe to showcase the capabilities of clean, renewable energy.

"The Atlantic is the symbolic part of the flight," pilot Bertrand Piccard told The Guardian. "It is symbolic because all the means of transportation have always tried to cross the Atlantic, the first steamboats, the first aeroplane, the first balloons, the first airships and, today, it is the first solar-powered aeroplane."

But the real goal is to "inspire people to use [renewable] technologies and show people they can use these technologies every day to have a better quality of life," he said.

The project had hoped to end the Atlantic leg in Paris, to replicate Charles Lindbergh's 1927 pioneering flight.

However, after storms were forecast for the French capital, Seville in the south of Spain was chosen as the safest option, Jonathan Amos, the BBC's science correspondent, reports.

Solar Impulse 2 is no heavier than a car but has a wingspan of more than 236ft, exceeding that of a Boeing 747, says tech website The Verge. It's covered in 17,000 cells to power the motors and charge its batteries during the day, continuing to power the craft at night.

The website adds that the craft typically flies at speeds of around 30mph - 18 times slower than a regular plane.

The project managers will now plot a route to the final destination, Abu Dhabi, where the venture began in March 2015.

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