Eco Factor: Self-sustainable blimp for military uses harvests solar energy for propulsion.
DARPA is working on a high-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance platform dubbed the Integrated Sensor Is the Structure (ISIS) that will be able to hover above the horizon near conflict zones and feed real-time radar data to troops and smart weapons. This fully-automated blimp is designed to take off from a permanent ground base in the U.S. and fly automatically to any point on the planet within 10 days.
Designed to hover at a height of over six miles, the ISIS is safe from most ground-based missile attacks and even pretty safe if an enemy aircraft tries to take it out with an air-to-air missile. The blimp is also designed to be self-sustaining and harnesses solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which is combined in a fuel cell at night to generate electrical energy. The developers estimate that the blimp should be able to be in flight around 2014.
Via: Fast Company