High-tech homes for million-year ice core mission

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Cold Comfort

Video transcript

Imagine travelling in a tractor convoy deep into Antarctica as the temperature drops below minus 40.

The Australian Antarctic Division is planning an inland traverse through the ice, at 10 kilometres an hour.

Anthony Hull, AAD Traverse Systems Project Lead:

To do that for approximately 1200 km, you’re looking at about 12 to 14 days of travel.

The convoy will travel from Casey Research Station to the site of the search for the million year ice core.

To make the journey, expeditioners will need somewhere to live and sleep, in a home away from home.

Taylor Brothers Marine has won the multi-million dollar contract to assemble the vans in its Hobart workshop.

Phil Taylor, Director of Taylor Brothers Marine:

We’ve had a long association with the Antarctic Division, my first job with them was in the early 1980s so it’s been a bit of a long relationship.

Planning the seven traverse and remote station vans has been years in the making.

Piecing them together is a painstaking task.

The priority is staying safe and staying warm.

Phil Taylor, Director of Taylor Brothers Marine:

The Antarctic Division gave us what they wanted in a model and we’ve taken that and detailed that and added the bits that we can provide assistance with.”

Anthony Hull, AAD Traverse Systems Project Lead:

This is where people will come in out of the cold. It’ll be their sanctuary where they’ll warm up, they’ll fuel up with food and to have a layout in a space where people aren’t standing next to each and elbowing each other, it’s vital we get this living space right.”

The vans will be delivered later this year before their first journey south.

Anthony Hull, AAD Traverse Systems Project Lead:

No doubt when we get this delivered to Casey Station and finally assemble it on the sleds and put the whole capability together, then we can see the whole picture, and that will be a very exciting moment.

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