Solar technology is at the forefront of innovation and design
Have you caught a glimpse of what’s scheduled to cross the Atlantic in a few years?
Solar power is being used in the most innovative, groundbreaking ways imaginable, and with no introduction you might say you’ve spotted an unidentified floating object!
There’s never been anything quite like the Mayflower.
Following a year-long testing phase of the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship (MARS), an Atlantic crossing is scheduled for 2020 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower’s historic voyage from England to what would become the United States.
Why will it be historic? For two reasons.
MARS will be the world’s first unmanned vessel and the first solar powered seacraft to ever make the Atlantic crossing.
The MARS solar ship will be 32.5 meters ( 107 ft) in length, 17 meters ( 58 ft ) across.
Its hull will be made of a glass, aramid, and a foam composite material while its deck will be composed of carbon composite. It will employ two sails which can be used singly or in tandem, and it is expected to reach speeds of up to 20 knots (about 23mph).
On days when the wind does not provide enough push, the sails are retracted into the hull and the solar powered motor will kick in. This secondary backup propulsion method is expected to enable the craft to travel up to 12.5 knots (14mph).
The photovoltaic converters are believed to be efficient enough that, and should the ship limit its speed to 5 knots, it would be capable of sustained travel at a constant rate indefinitely.
Navigation of the MARS ship will be achieved using a combination of GPS and an automated collision avoidance system. MSubs officials say that the Atlantic crossing might be completed in as few as 7 to 10 days under optimal conditions.
However, should the project attract enough attention, the team may task the solar power ship with additional jobs in order to showcase its abilities to the public. Areas of research that the ship will be used to conduct other than solar power experimentation will include climatology, oceanography, and meteorology.
At present, plans call for the ship to launch and retrieve a series of its own drones, which will extend its sensor range and capabilities, and it is still subject to a great deal of testing. Until then, the ships creators are in search of a few commercial sponsors to help fund the daring project.