Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry based Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the great uncle of the Solar Impulse 2 pilot
Captain Bertrand Piccard comes from a long line of innovators and adventurers. His father was an undersea explorer, his grandfather was a pioneering balloonist and now Piccard himself has just become the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a plane powered entirely by the sun.
Solar Impulse 2 touched down at its starting point in Abu Dhabi on Monday night to complete a journey that began in the same place 16 months ago and has seen the aircraft in flight for 23 days as it travelled 40,000 kilometres without a drop of fuel.
But it turns out Piccard is related to yet another rather impressive character – a man who has travelled the uncharted reaches of space, exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilisations and boldly going where no-one has gone before…
Yes, Captain Bertrand Piccard of the Solar Impulse 2 has a real-life link to Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise…
You see, Piccard's great uncle Jean Felix Piccard – a chemist, engineer and high-altitude balloonist, and Bertrand's father's twin brother – inspired Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to come up with Patrick Stewart's Next Generation character.
As Bertrand explains "Jean-Luc Picard was named after the twin brother of my grandfather. The twin brother of my grandfather emigrated to the US, he built the first stratospheric balloon in the US and he was taken as an example for Captain Jean-Luc Picard."