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Solar Powered Boat Begins ‘Deepwater’ Scientific Expedition

The world’s largest solar powered boat, MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, established a new speed record for a solar-powered transatlantic crossing on May 18 of this year. She did this by beating her own record that was set on her 2010 voyage.

PlanetSolar solar powered boat

Solar powered boat arrives in Miami | Jun 1, 2013 | © All rights reserved PlanetSolar 

PlanetSolar Drops Anchor in Miami Beach and Begins the “DeepWater” Scientific Expedition on the Gulf Stream

The clean energy catamaran now begins a new life by transforming into a scientific research vessel. Beginning June 7, she will begin collecting data along the Gulf Stream ocean current; this journey will take her from Miami to Bergen, Norway. The air and water measurements that she gathers along the way will be uncontaminated by any substances emitted by the boat because she is a non-polluting vessel, reports PlanetSolar.

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar departed from St. Martin in the French West Indies on May 23, and reached the shores of the United States on June 1. The solar powered boat and her crew are docked in Miami from June 1 to June 6, 2013—a crucial stopover because a final phase of instrument testing will be conducted there.

The ship will begin the practical stage of her second life—dedicated to science—as part of the expedition that will study the Gulf Stream, one of the most important regulators of European and North American climates. In fact, the solar powered boat will transform into a genuine scientific platform in Florida and will serve a team of researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), led by Professor Martin Beniston, climatologist and director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva.

Through the month of August, the interdisciplinary team of scientists will travel over 8,000 kilometers along the Gulf Stream, between Miami, United States and Bergen, Norway, via New York, Boston, St. John’s, Canada, and Reykjavik, Iceland.

This unique campaign will lead researchers tonavigate along the Gulf Stream and collect scientific data, from both water and air, in order to better understand complex interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere as well as the role of these interactions in climate change. –Professor Beniston.

In parallel, a pedagogical team has developed educational activities and resources designed to make young people aware of climate change and its impact.

PlanetSolar solar powered boat

Solar powered boat arrives in Miami | Jun 1, 2013 | © All rights reserved PlanetSolar 

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will significantly contribute to an unprecedented data collection of this ocean current, since the absence of pollution emissions will guarantee that the atmospheric measurements won’t be distorted by residues associated with fuel combustion. The boat also has numerous advantages, such as a world-renowned navigational experience and the fact that she can load her crew plus up to 4 scientists on board.

Up to this point, we were in transit in a sense. In a few days we will begin this scientific expedition—the raison d’être of our trip—and life onboard will be organized entirely around the measurements that the University of Geneva researchers will carry out. The entire crew is highly motivated and is getting involved in the final assemblage of the measurement instruments. –Gérard d’Aboville, captain of the boat, enthusiastic about starting this measurement campaign.

In addition, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will sail to the northernmost part of the Atlantic for the first time.

Navigation conditions will change; we are taking leave of the trade winds that have been accompanying us since the Canary Islands to travel along the roving Gulf Stream, first along the American coast, then across the Atlantic. –The captain explains.

Miami, final phase of scientific instrument testing before the PlanetSolar DeepWater expedition

In order to collect a continuous series of physical and biological measurements in the water and in the air, the ship will be equipped with 6 advanced instruments, including the “Biobox”, an instrument that was specifically developed by the Applied Physics Group at the University of Geneva. It is dedicated to studying aerosols at the interface between the atmosphere and the ocean, and is the only instrument to date capable of instantaneously determining the identity of aerosols using laser technology. It will be used aboard the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar for the first time.

For all the information on MS Tûranor PlanetSolar: planetsolar.org

Author’s note: The results of the data collected by this quiet, clean energy catamaran and her crew, along with the researchers from the University of Geneva will give us a treasure chest of information. I am so happy that the team is undertaking this endeavor and I look forward to reading about the results and the analysis.

By Amber Archangel

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  1. […] partnership, the public will be able to discover the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar and learn about the scientific aspects of the climate research carried out during the summer 2013 “PlanetSolar DeepWater” expedition. An official opening day […]

  2. […] for a few days to avoid “Andrea”, the first tropical storm of the season in the Atlantic, the solar catamaran left the coast of Florida on June 8 to begin the scientific expedition studying the Gulf […]

  3. […] by the success of the DeepWater expedition carried out along the Gulf Stream in the spring of 2013, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and […]

  4. […] partnership, the public will be able to discover the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar and learn about the scientific aspects of the climate research carried out during the summer 2013 “PlanetSolar DeepWater” expedition. An official opening day […]

  5. […] stopover in St. John’s will last until August 5, allowing the “PlanetSolar DeepWater” scientific teammates a rotation. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will then set off into the vastness […]

  6. […] in Florida in early June, the “PlanetSolar DeepWater” expedition is striving to collect a continuous series of physical and biological measurements along the Gulf […]

  7. […] many discussions, hesitations and negotiations, the scientific committee—headed by Professor Martin Beniston and PlanetSolar’s captain Gérard […]

  8. […] many discussions, hesitations and negotiations, the scientific committee—headed by Professor Martin Beniston and PlanetSolar’s captain Gérard […]

  9. […] for a few days to avoid “Andrea”, the first tropical storm of the season in the Atlantic, the solar catamaran left the coast of Florida on June 8 to begin the scientific expedition studying the Gulf Stream. […]

  10. […] sailing on the largest solar boat ever built in order to successfully carry out the ‘PlanetSolar DeepWater’ expedition, which aims to analyze the Gulf Stream, one of the most important regulators of […]

  11. […] sailing on the largest solar boat ever built in order to successfully carry out the ‘PlanetSolar DeepWater’ expedition, which aims to analyze the Gulf Stream, one of the most important regulators of […]

  12. […] sailing on the largest solar boat ever built in order to successfully carry out the ‘PlanetSolar DeepWater’ expedition, which aims to analyze the Gulf Stream, one of the most important regulators of […]

  13. […] a few days to avoid “Andrea,” the first tropical storm of the season in the Atlantic, the solar catamaran left the coast of Florida on June 8 to begin the scientific expedition studying the Gulf […]

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