"...a few centuries of coherent humanist thought, set against a million odd years of evolved killer ape tendency. No-one's going to give you very good odds on humanism, are they?"
I don't know who first thought of powering an aircraft with solar energy alone; as far as I know, working models didn't appear until the 1970's. So, this is a fairly early mention of the idea.
The brothers Albert and Gaston Tissandier developed the first electrically propelled dirigible, first flown in 1883.
(Image: Library of Congress)
Compare to the electric plane from Synthetic (1930) by Charles Cloukey.
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