MOON REGAN TRANSANTARCTIC EXPEDITION

Winston Wong | Imperial College London


NEWS

TEAM COMPLETES FIRST THERE-AND-BACK VEHICLE CROSSING OF ANTARCTICA

The Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition team have completed the first there-and-back vehicle crossing of the Antarctic continent.

The 10-man team left Union Glacier on 25 November and arrived, via the Geographic South Pole, on the Ross Ice Shelf on 9 December. They then retraced their tracks and completed the return journey on 17 December. In all they covered nearly 4,000 km and travelled for 20 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes.

As the team celebrated the completion of their Expedition, they paid tribute to two partnerships which made the Expedition possible: ‘Our main sponsor, Professor Winston Wong, has believed in our abilities and shared our objectives from the first – we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. A large number of people at Imperial College London,have given our Expedition significant support and overwhelming enthusiasm. Our particular thanks go to the Rector, Sir Keith O’Nions, and to Professor Chris Toumazou, who led our science programme. We share this achievement with all our sponsors, family and friends’.

The team has used three vehicles in their Expedition: two 6-wheeled, engineered-for-purpose Science Support Vehicles and, leading the way across the ice to the South Pole, the iconic, unique Winston Wong Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle, which became the first bio-fuelled vehicle to reach the South Pole.

The team was committed to prove the efficiency and reliability of wheeled vehicles in the Antarctic terrain. The majority of travel around the Antarctic – usually by researchers and scientists – is done using small planes. The Moon Regan team believe they have developed the right vehicles to allow researchers to travel on the ground and make less harmful environmental impact.

As they journeyed, the Expedition team trialled technology, undertook experiments and gathered data including:
• The trialling – in extreme temperatures – of a ground-breaking health monitoring device developed by researchers from Imperial College London. The Life Platform, by Sensium TM technology, collects and locally processes vital sign information including motion, heart rate and single lead ECG using electrodes positioned across the chest. Information is transmitted wirelessly in real-time to computers. This technology, with its non-intrusive, remote and ultra low-power continuous monitoring, is set to revolutionise healthcare monitoring. (It emerged from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London, and is now being developed for healthcare applications by spinout company,Toumaz UK Ltd).
• The Winston Wong Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle – the ‘microlite on skis’ which was the Expedition’s scout vehicle named in honour of the Expedition’s main sponsor Professor Winston Wong – was the first bio-fuelled vehicle at the South Pole. The team monitored the all-round performance of the Ice Vehicle and its fuel as it made this historic journey.
• The team mapped and photographed meteorites for Dr Matthew Genge, from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London. The large, white, undeveloped expanses of Antarctica make it a prime location for meteorites. These rocks are often older than the Earth itself.
• Snow samples were collected over the course of the Expedition and will be kept for analysis of trace metal concentrations and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Trace metals and POPs can be used as markers to show the circulation of pollutants within the Southern hemispheres.
• Ground penetrating radar was used to study the surface integrity of the ground in front of the vehicles. The data from the radar will be offered for future crevasse-mapping.
• The Expedition’s on-board weather centre informed the team and provided a full record of all weather experienced.

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Andrew Moon

First skied to the South Pole in 2004 and had a desire to return to carry out a major expedition.

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