Antarctica is not a small place, with an area of about 14 million square km it is about twice the size of Australia. It is covered by ice, has the highest average elevation of all the continents and is one of the coldest, driest and windiest places on Earth. All of this makes for a challenging environment in which to work and to travel any distance is no easy feat. During MAGIC-DML’s upcoming field season we need to cover an area of more than 26,000 square km, with distances of over 250 km between some of the sites we will visit. That is a lot of ground to cover in a relatively short time! Thankfully we have the right trucks for the job!
The Arctic Trucks Hilux AT44 4x4 and 6x6 vehicles that we will drive from nunatak to nunatak during our fieldwork in Antarctica.
‘ENGINEERED FROM EXPLORATION’, Arctic Trucks create vehicles designed to access the most remote environments on earth and work in the most hostile conditions. The Icelandic based company specialises in the re-engineering and conversion of four-wheel drive vehicles for extreme conditions. Their design engineers are also experienced adventurers, they therefore understand, first hand, the challenges the vehicles they design will need to conquer. These engineers have an unparalleled level of expertise in building these highly specialised vehicles designed for safe and reliable travel in snow and under extreme conditions. The Arctic Trucks vehicles can travel faster, more eco-friendly and more efficiently than the traditional travel solutions – typically tracked vehicles or a helicopter-skidoo combo. This allows us to make the most of our time in the field, and visit more sites than would have been possible in the past. The trucks also provide a safe and warm environment for us to return to following long days out in the field mapping and sampling.
The two trucks we have in the field are Toyota Hilux 3.0 turbo diesel trucks that been especially designed and modified to support the MAGIC-DML fieldwork. In what way have the trucks been re-engineered? Well, they were essentially stripped down then rebuilt to our specification, the picture below outlines the additions made.
A lot of work went into making the Toyota Hilux vehicles capable to support the MAGIC-DML fieldwork!
Look out for our next blog post to learn more about the process of re-building the trucks with all the modifications for Antarctic field work and see how they faired as we put them to the test in Iceland!