Imperial College London

Explorers complete first leg of icy Antarctic journey

Science Support Vehicle

Moon Regan team arrive at the South Pole <em>– News</em>

Tuesday 7 December 2010
by Colin Smith

A team of explorers successfully completed the first leg of their journey across Antarctica late last week, when they reached the South Pole and moved one step closer to their goal of carrying out the fastest ever vehicle crossing of the continent.

Imperial College London is the scientific partner of the Moon Regan Transantarctic expedition, which arrived at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on Thursday 2 December 2010.

The expedition is using state-of-the-art six wheeled drive Science Support Vehicles, which are mobile laboratories, and a Winston Wong BioInspired Ice Vehicle. The latter is powered by biofuel and it glides across the ice on skis, using radar to detect dangerous ice crevasses.

In addition to attempting the fastest vehicle crossing, the team are also aiming to be the first to cross the continent twice in land vehicles. They have already made a new record by being the first to use biofuels extensively in Antarctica.

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Listen to a conversation between Sir Keith O'Nions, Rector of the College, Ray Thompson, and Andrew Regan via satellite phone at the South Pole.

The explorers are also trialling technology developed by researchers at Imperial including the Sensium enabled Life Platforms, which expedition members are wearing to monitor their vital signs, such as ECG, heart rate, movement and muscle activity. The technology is designed so that team members do not have to be wired up to bulky machines to monitor their health. Mr Ray Thompson, from the Winston Wong Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology at Imperial’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, is part of the 10 man expedition, monitoring how the Sensium enabled Life Platforms are performing in sub-zero conditions.

In the slideshow below, you can view pictures of the team’s journey so far, from the time they left the tarmac in Chile to the moment of their arrival at one of the world’s most remote research stations.  

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