Solar boat catches rays, double-takes in Halifax as part of scientific voyage

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HALIFAX - A futuristic, solar-powered boat moored at Halifax harbour is attracting lots of attention and more than a few double takes along the city's waterfront.

The MS Turanor (TOR'-ah-nor) PlanetSolar made its first Canadian stop when it arrived this week in Halifax as part of a scientific expedition across the Atlantic Ocean and along the Gulf Stream.

At 35 metres long, PlanetSolar is billed as the biggest solar boat ever built and is powered exclusively by the sun.

Since its arrival, crowds of curious passersby have gathered to get a closer glimpse of the catamaran, which sits on large floaters and boasts 520 square metres of shiny solar panels on its sun deck.

The panels charge batteries which, in turn, power the boat's electric motors.

The boat, which will depart next week for St. John's, N.L., is carrying five crew members and four scientists, who are collecting data in hopes of better understanding climate regulation and the interaction between ocean and atmosphere.

Geographic location: Halifax, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf Stream St. John's

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