First Flight of a Laser Powered Airplane

Today, NASA tested a laser-powered airplane: a 312-gram (11-ounce), 1.5-meter (five-foot) wingspan plane. A laser beam struck the photovoltaic cells that powered the tiny motor that turned its propeller.

Remote-controlled and remote-powered planes don't have to carry their own fuel, batteries or crew, providing more room for scientific instruments.

See Laser Cannon from Mote in God's Eye created by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in 1974.

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