World’s largest solar boat on Greek mission

The world’s largest solar boat, the catamaran PlanetSolar, will embark on a Greek mission to find one of the oldest sites inhabited by man in Europe, an organizer said Monday.

Starting on Aug. 11, a team of Swiss and Greek scientists will seek a “prehistoric countryside” in the southeastern Peloponnese peninsula, University of Geneva researcher Julien Beck told AFP.

The month-long mission, jointly organized with the Swiss school of archaeology and the Greek culture ministry, will search around the Franchthi cave in the Argolic Gulf, where early Europeans lived between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods.

The cave was eventually abandoned but scientists assume the inhabitants must have built a village nearby.

“This cave was inhabited continuously for around 35,000 years ... and we have reason to believe that towards the end of the Neolithic era, the inhabitants moved to a neighboring site that is now underwater,” Beck said.

“If we could find this village, it would be among the oldest in Greece and Europe,” he said.

PlanetSolar, built in Germany, is 31 meters long and is powered by more than 500 square meters of solar panels. [AFP]