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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 March 2018
20 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 MARCH 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Breaking the waves, ancient Greek-style Dutch-designed floating breakwater which doubles as an energy generator is modelled after the Parthenon In ancient Greek mytholo- gy, Olympian god Poseidon used his trident to master the sea; thousands of years later, the need to master the sea remains as pressing as ever and it is of little wonder that those facing the task looked to ancient Greece for inspiration. This is true of the innovative Netherlands-based architecture firm Waterstudio led by architect Koen Olthius, and specialising in floating urban structures. The studio's mission statement is "developing solutions to the problems posed by urbanisation and climate change" and its latest creation is a floating breakwater that doubles as an energy generator that promises to do exactly that. As its name suggests, the Parthenon seawall was designed to resemble the iconic temple of Athena, but despite its ancient aesthetics, the structure's columns have more to do with functionality and addressing specific needs in a modern-day urban setting. While usual breakwater structures are designed to disrupt waterflow and reduce the impact of waves, tides and currents, protecting coastlines, harbours and riverbeds from potential damage, the Parthenon seawall goes a step, or more, further than just fighting the force of water: it lives with it and turns it into electrical power. The floating breakwater stems the crash of water pushing into a harbour, while at the same time harvesting the tremendous energy a wall of water like that can generate. The Parthenon seawall employs a ‘stacked pyramid’ structure - the columns are comprised of cylinders that rotate – both clockwise and counter clockwise – at low speed, moving by the flow of water. The upper concrete platform is where the energy is stored, but Waterstudio designers suggest it can also be used as a riverfront, creating a space for greenery and recreation. Poseidon would be proud. (L-R) Hellenic Space Agency chairman Tom Krimigis, Minister for Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media Nikos Pappas, and ministry general secretary Vassilis Maglaras at the agency launch. Greece launches newly established space agency Space exploration pioneer Tom Krimigis appointed chairperson of the board of a new organisation which aspires to attract investment and showcase innovation and scientific excellence in Greece Waterstudio’s suggested Parthenon seawall is a floating breakwater that could protect harbours and coastlines from tidal force, turning it into electrical power. Almost 18 months since the first announcement of its creation, the Hellenic Space Agency was officially launched on Monday by the Minister for Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media Nikos Pappas, and the ministry’s general secretary Vassilis Maglaras. Entering into the space sector can make the country stronger and more productive, increasing its standing in many ways, Pappas said during the presentation, stressing that "investment in space technology is an international industry with a turnover of €200 billion annually, while according to the European Space Agency’s latest report, space shows a return on investment ratio of one to seven, one of the largest in any industry". Minister Pappas outlined the multiple benefits that Greece expects to gain from the new agency, among them: telecommunications infrastructure, defence, medical applications, agriculture, environmental monitoring, and fire prevention and control. Waterstudio used New York’s Hudson River to illustrate the Parthenon seawall’s function. Greece does not intend to start a space exploration program anytime soon. "The Greek Space Agency is committed to promoting scientific advancement in space technologies via collaboration with local and international industry and academia, while ensuring the realisation of economic, industrial, and social benefits for Greece," reads the HSA's mission statement on its website, which has yet to feature its newly appointed chairman, Dr Stamatios ‘Tom’ Krimigis. Hailed by NASA as a "space exploration pioneer", Krimigis is a Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory scientist in the US, and the university says his storied professional career has closely paralleled American space exploration. In 2016 NASA awarded Dr Krimigis their highest service award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal. "Our vision is the strengthening of Greece's competitiveness in both the public and private sectors," Dr Krimigis said at the launch when his appointment at the helm of the new organisation was officially announced. A space-focused agency has been a longtime dream for the Greek scientific community, at least since the Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing was founded under the name Ionospheric Institute in 1955. For decades, scientists interested in working in space programs have been looking for work abroad. Greece officially joined the European Space Agency in 2004 and has since invested millions of euros in ESA's research programs, despite being one of the few member states lacking a national institution. The country has had a satellite program since 2001, when the first Hellas Sat was launched into orbit. A cooperation between Greece and Cyprus, Hellas Sat 3 was launched into orbit last June, adding to Greece's network which comprises six transponders, three ground-based satellite hubs, and 200 terminals cov- ering areas of defence, security, and civil protection. The launch of a national space agency is seen as a way to further establish this activity and showcase the scientific excellence in Greece, attracting investment and reversing the 'brain-drain' phenomenon. "The establishment and operation of the Hellenic Space Organisation will be one of the most dynamic features of our course towards the modern digital economy of the future," Mr Maglaras told the AthensMacedonian News Agency. The Hellenic Space Agency’s new logos.
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