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The greater the challenge…

Last week, the first solar powered aircraft designed to circle the globe successfully completed its maiden flight. Chief designer, Bertrand Piccard enthused that exploration is not just about breaking records, but breaking preconceptions. "The greater the challenge, the better the technology needed to meet it," he observed.

His viewpoint echoes that of Bloodhound's project director, Richard Noble, who not only intends to break the world land speed record, but annihilate it. By setting the target of 1000mph in stone, Noble has ensured that failure is not an option. Rather, each design challenge is looked upon as an opportunity to embrace technical innovation.

"It's a huge undertaking," Noble concedes, "but it has to be something that makes people's jaws drop." It's this kind of attitude that is needed to inspire and encourage the younger age bracket into engineering design.

Many claim that the 'exciting' era of technological development - Concorde, the Space Race, et al - is over, with nothing left to inspire the next generation of designers. But with strong personalities such as Richard Noble and Bertrand Piccard leading the way, the internet will be the ideal opportunity to get the message to a target audience.

Chris Shaw

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