Antarctica is a brutal place and plans to traverse it had better be accompanied by some well-thought-out preparations. This winter, explorers from the Moon-Regan Transantarctic Expedition team will set out on an attempt to examine the impact of global climate change. The 40-day, 3,600-mile jaunt will put the team of 11 researchers and their two vehicles through the ultimate cold-weather test. Hopefully, the team's Lotus-designed Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV) is up to the task.

Powered by an E85-burning turbo'd four-cylinder Rotax 914 engine, which pumps out 100 horsepower and 106 pound feet of torque, the sub-1,500 pound BIV is built for Antarctica's grueling conditions. It features a three-blade prop with variable pitch and runs atop three skis that employ an independent suspension system. The BIV has room for just one, so the team of 11 researchers may find themselves duking it out for some seat time. Those who aren't piloting the BIV will have to make do within the cozy confines of another support vehicle. But with a top speed of 84 miles per hour and the inevitable power slide lurking around every turn, we'd find someway to stay in the seat of the BIV for as long as possible.

[Source: Transantarctic Expedition via Wired]