It might seem a bit paradoxical to drive a HUMMER for 1,200 miles across the thin ice of the Northwest Passage with the goal of investigating climate change in the arctic circle, but that's exactly what a crew from the Mars Institute is planning to do. The team will be charting the thickness of the ice as it moves at about 12 miles per hour over the surface, but the information gathered during the trek will really just be a bonus. The team's first priority will be to see how the HUMMER-based rover fares in these harsh conditions. At some point, the Mars Institute hopes that this data will prove useful in helping NASA design human-toting vehicles that will be able to traverse the surface of Mars.

To assist the team's main diesel-powered vehicle, two snowmobiles will tag along to watch for cracks in the ice and to keep tabs on the HUMMER. This may be the last time a team is able to travel across the frozen Northwest Passage, so we wish them the best of luck.

[Sources: Mars Institute, Popular Mechanics]

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