The mutant Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle makes its way to the South Pole.
Beginning in late November, Andrew Moon, 51, co-leader Andrew Regan, and nine others will set out on a five-week mission to the geographic South Pole as part of the Moon Regan Trans Antarctic Expedition. It’s not the first time Moon, a lawyer in the Cayman Islands, and Regan, an entrepreneur from England, have been to the South Pole. They drove there in a record 69 hours in 2005. But thanks to the team’s Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV)—which is basically a biodiesel-fueled airplane without wings that can reach speeds of 80 miles per hour and is equipped with ground-penetrating radar to spot crevasses—this trip will likely be the most fun.
Bio Ice VehiclePimped out: the prop-driven BIV
OUTSIDE: How do you decide who gets to drive?
MOON: We’re taking turns. But we haven’t yet decided how quickly we’ll rotate. Maybe every two hours.
So no drawing straws?
It’s a nice vehicle to drive—you can do it with one hand—but Antarctica is like a frozen ocean. You’ll find calm waters, sure, but you’ll have chop and big waves, too. In those rough patches, it won’t be the most comfortable of rides, so we’ll be ready to switch.
What’s your biggest concern out there?
The biggest is always going to be mechanical. But we’ve got spare parts with us. We can fix nearly everything.
It’s safe to say you’re not traveling light, then?
We can’t take the kitchen sink, but we have a lot of the kitchen with us—we’ve got about five or six Iridium phone lines, satellite tracking, 500 gallons of jet fuel for each of our two Science Support Vehicles, and three brilliant mechanics. It’s been a massive team effort.
Any tricks you can do with the BIV?
We’ve not learned any yet. We want to get there and back; then we’ll work on stuff for the next James Bond film.