WATCH: Priscilla, the new $1.2 million, six-wheeled Queen of Australia's Antarctica

The Antarctic Priscilla. Picture: Daniel Porter

Australian Antarctic expeditioners will soon have a new bus, dubbed “Priscilla” after the movie about a road-trip across the Simpson Desert.

The six-wheeled ice desert Priscilla will transport up to 36 scientists and expeditioners from Australia’s Wilkins Aerodrome to Casey research station 70km away on the coast.

Here’s footage of the $1.2 million bus being built in Canada:

“Electric and diesel heaters will keep both the engine and passengers warm in the sub-zero temperatures,” says Australian Antarctic Division mechanical supervisor, Cameron Frost.

The 22-tonne machine has six all-terrain balloon tyres weighing half a tonne each, each 1.5 metres high, which are designed to help the bus drive over soft snowy surfaces.

The bus was built in Calgary, Canada, and is a smaller version of the buses used for glacier tours in Canada and by the US Antarctic Program at McMurdo Station.

“The engine is the same as the cranes used at Casey station, which means the diesel mechanics are able to easily service the machines and interchange parts when required,” says Frost.

The bus replaces the current Priscilla, which has a capacity of 19 passengers.

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