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Pathfinder, an unpiloted, remotely controlled NASA aircraft has reached an altitude of 50,500 feet, a new record for a solar-powered aircraft.

The all-wing aircraft, which weighs less than 600 pounds, is being evaluated in a program to develop technologies for operating unpiloted aircraft at altitudes of up to 100,000 feet on environmental sampling missions lasting up to a week or more. The evaluation program is called ERAST—Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology—and is part of Mission to Planet Earth.