Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting There.

About Bertrand Piccard's TEDTalk

Explorer Bertrand Piccard explains why he's aiming to carry out an unprecedented mission: to circle the planet in a solar-powered airplane.

About Bertrand Piccard

Bertrand Piccard was born in a family of firsts. In the 1930s, his grandfather, Auguste, was the first to balloon into the stratosphere.

Thirty years later, Auguste's son, Jacques, was on the first team to reach the Mariana Trench, the deepest point of the ocean.

Then in 1999, Bertrand and his co-pilot completed the first nonstop circumnavigation of the globe by balloon, flying nearly 28,000 miles in 20 days.

Now, a team of scientists and engineers around Piccard and co-pilot André Borschberg is building Solar Impulse, an aircraft powered by solar energy. The prototype has the weight of a car but the wingspan of an airbus.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.