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Antarctic Exploration Concept vehicle for two


June 26, 2005

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June 27, 2005 An innovative concept for an Antarctic Exploration vehicle was unveiled this week at the Royal College of Art’s final year show. Working closely with experts from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), award-winning designer James Moon has come up with a lightweight, compact eco-friendly vehicle for use in one of the Earth’s most extreme environments. The vehicle, called “Ninety Degrees South”, uses novel technology to keep drivers safe, warm and protected from the high levels of UV exposure that occur under the Antarctic ozone hole.

Designed to fit into the small Twin Otter aircraft that BAS uses for working in remote deep field locations, Moon’s two-person vehicle has a combination of tracks and wheels allow it to operate anywhere on the continent over hard ground, snow or ice surfaces. The versatility of this concept vehicle has commercial potential.

“The challenge was to design an environmentally-friendly vehicle specifically for Antarctica that could be used also in other cold regions,” said Moon. “I’m particularly interested in overcoming the dangers of traveling across crevassed areas of ice. Unknown terrain limits the speed of any journey over the ice - the faster you can detect crevasses the quicker you can travel.

“I’m using unmanned pathfinder technology which travels on a GPS controlled route ahead of the main unit. The pathfinder is secured by a 30m umbilical cord, and uses ground-penetrating radar to assess risk. I believe this technology serves as a prototype for future, entirely automated, expeditions in the Antarctic and on other planets.”

“The large tracked vehicles (Snocats) and snowmobiles we use have been developed over several years and work reliably in the extreme Antarctic environment, supporting our field and base operations,” said David Blake, Head of Technology & Engineering at the British Antarctic Survey. “James Moon’s concept is very novel and a vehicle built to his design could enable new areas of activity to be undertaken in Antarctica, including ground based deep field surveys.”

“I am sure that should the vehicle be developed, it could also be used as a personnel carrier in Arctic regions. James's vehicle is innovative and challenging and I am delighted at his enthusiasm and drive in developing his concept vehicle.”

James Moon’s ‘Ninety Degrees South’ will be on show to the public in the Vehicle Design section of The Show: Two at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU until July 3, 2005 (closed 1 July), free admission.

Visit www.rca.ac.uk for more details.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
1 Comment

VERY cool- pun sincerely intended. The ocean floor and polar regions remain largely unexplored.

Considering the Great Polar Controversy, I would think there would be more interest in examining the South Pole.

As for the ocean floor, the Gulf of Mexico(and other prime areas)should always be monitored for pollutants and their effects- especially since BP.

I say this scientifically without unreasonable agendas. -g

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