Think your last flight was long? The Defense Department's research arm wants a plane ride that lasts five years.
DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is paying The Boeing Co., $89 million to build a huge, solar-powered, robotic aircraft that can carry 1,000 pounds of sensors and other payloads for five years at a stretch.
"It's challenging," Boeing project manager Pat O'Neil told Discovery News. "It presents opportunities to do things in the atmosphere that normally we'd associate with satellites. It's quite compelling."