"Cross-Country Solar Plane Expedition Set for Takeoff"

Pilots will soon launch an effort to fly a solar-powered airplane across the United States.

"MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- When Bertrand Piccard was growing up in Switzerland, heady discussions about the boundless potential for human endeavor were standard fare.

His grandfather, a physicist and friend of Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, had invented a special capsule so he and a partner could be first to reach the stratosphere in a balloon. His father, an engineer, helped design the submarine that made him and an American naval officer the first to plunge undersea to the earth’s crust.

'All the most incredible things seemed to be completely normal,' Mr. Piccard, a psychiatrist trained in hypnosis, said last week at Moffett Field at the NASA Ames Research Center here, preparing for his next expedition. 'I thought this was the normal way to live and I was very disappointed to see that there are a lot of people who are afraid of the unknown, afraid of the doubts, afraid of the question marks.'"

Diane Cardwell reports for the New York Times May 1, 2013.

Source: NY Times, 05/02/2013