A group of French engineering students want to see what their solar blimp — the helium-filled, solar-panel-studded Sol'r — can do. They have their eye on the English Channel for their first big test run, though the team has taken the one-seater craft into the air before and do know of its air-worthiness.
Seriously though, I find that I hate how much I love blimps (and their hard-bodied cousins, zeppelins). On the one hand, a craft such as the Sol'r is a zero-emissions solution for travel, and its shape makes it ideal to be covered with sun-drinking panels. On the other hand, it's low, sub-25-mile-per-hour speed in ideal conditions makes it the snail of air travel, it's highly susceptible to weather, and the craft don't exactly have the best track record.
Whether or not blimps and zepp's will ever recapture a place in flight is anyone's guess, though here's a fond good luck to the Sol'r crew in any case.