Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg have been awarded the Explorers Medal by the Explorers Club in New York for flying around the world in Solar Impulse.
Bertrand was already honoured by the Explorers Club following his circumnavigation of the globe in a balloon - another first - completed with Brian Jones in 1999. During the ceremony held in New York on March 25, he declared:
“ When you gave me the Explorers Medal after my balloon flight, I made you the promise to fly around the world again, but this time in a solar airplane. André and I finally made it. The duty of explorers is to continue making a cleaner world!"
For the Piccard family where exploration is a family tradition, it is another chapter in their remarkable story; both Bertrand’s father, Jacques - who in 1960 was the first person to reach the Mariana trench, the deepest-known point on the ocean floor, and his Grandfather, Auguste - who in 1931 and 1932 made the first two ascents into the stratosphere, were recipients of the Explorers Medal in 2000 and 1954 respectively.
Each year, the Explorers Club honors those individuals for their accomplishments in exploration. The Explorers Medal - the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Club - is awarded for extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or the welfare of humanity. Past winners include Edmund Hillary, the first man to successfully ascend Mount Everest (with his climbing partner Tenzing Norgay), and astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon. In addition to Bertrand and André, the 2017 medal has also been awarded to Nainoa Thompson for his historic work on Polynesian wayfinding.
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg flank former President of the Explorers Club Alan Nichols, holding aloft the Explorers Club flag. Since 1918, the flag has been carried by Club members on recognized flag expeditions that further the cause of exploration and field science. To this date, there are a total of 202 individually numbered flags (Solar Impulse is #50) each with their own history.
This post has been originally published here.