New ideas were recently announced from Imaginactive, a company who creates prototypes of products that should exist but don’t. The other one of their products we wrote about was the Paradoxal, a concept for a commercial supersonic/hypersonic passenger aircraft that can fly Mach 3 in a suborbital trajectory.

Now they’ve come up with the Muadib. If you’ve ever read the Dune books, you probably already know where this is going…Think of the Muadib as a cruise ship but on sand. This “ship” was designed to cruise deserts or other vast expanses of open land. Tourists would be able to live in this “Cruise” ship” while on their vacations. They could enjoy the sights of the Sahara or Sonora Desert, for instance, while still retiring to their climate controlled room, cold meals, and on-board entertainment at the end of the day.

This ship, if you could afford it, would be the ultimate bug-out vehicle, because it would let you go to the remotest reaches of the desert or grasslands without sinking in. Solar panels would give you power. And a canopy could be extended over the ship to protect it from sandstorms and to provide shade. Gas could run its turbines, also.

Since you wouldn’t need your pools to be heated while in the desert, the Muadib would cool them down instead. Air conditioning, of course, would keep the internal air comfortable. The ship would be able to harvest water from the air conditioning unit…no need for a sweat and urine recycling body suit as in the Dune books…and the ship would even be able to dig for water under the earth’s surface. Designers created a grow room inside the ship where some of this water could be used to water food crops.

Since this is a luxury vehicle after all, the Muadib would have a star-gazing deck and panoramic observation platform. Because what’s the point of being all the way in the middle of nowhere if you can’t see anything! If you brought your ATV, drone, or small helicopter, it could be stored in the ship’s on-board garage until you were ready to go out for a spin.

The concept page of explains that this could be for luxury vacations or science expeditions, to take researchers to remote places where it wouldn’t make sense to build a permanent structure.

Please make it real.

Images from

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We recently learned that a Texas woman got stranded in a remote part of Arizona after she ran out of gas during a solo trip to the Grand Canyon. We didn’t hear about this case until after the show about this woman’s rescue aired on 20/20 in March. But it is an interesting example of many survival scenarios coming together along with something we’ve written about before . . . surviving in the desert. (Read: Seven Rules of Desert Survival). How did this young woman do? Let’s check it out.

Amber VanHecke is 24 years old and was stranded for five days. When I was 24 I would have had no idea how to survive,  having given emergency preparation zero thought back then, so she probably automatically did better than I would have at her age. A mishap with Google Maps caused her to go way off track in the Havasupai Reservation and consequently she ran out of gas. You can watch a short, minute-long video of her 20/20 appearance on this Dallas page.


She prepared for the possibility of being stranded. She had extra food and water with her, including high energy foods like almonds, pumpkin seeds, Goldfish and dried fruit. And she ate only enough to keep from starving. She said her stash of food could have lasted her 18 days. She cooked ramen noodles by leaving them on the dashboard of the car.

She built a HELP sign out of rocks. She noticed that planes occasionally flew overhead. I’m not sure whether her sign was large enough to be visible from the planes, but it couldn’t have hurt.

She parked her car by a man-made structure. This increased the chances that someone would come by the structure, and it provided some shade. Unfortunately, though, this structure blocked the view of her car by the one truck that drove by.

She left a note in her vehicle explaining where she had gone when she left the car. She left the vehicle and hiked an estimated 11 miles to make a 911 call. The call dropped before her location could be pinpointed, but rescuers were able to zero in on an area where they started looking. They found her car, but it was empty. They went down the road the note indicated and found her.


She turned onto a road that didn’t exist. People are leaving nasty comments online about this decision and we admit that this as not a smart choice. After going so far on the initial Google Maps directions and then finding out that there was not a road where it was telling her to turn, that should have been her warning that she was not in the right place. The post she put on her Facebook page about the incident says that she thought the road may have washed away, so she turned anyway thinking she would encounter the road shortly. Instead, she came to a fence with no road in sight. At this point she had also lost her GPS.She backtracked then and found the road she was supposed to be on, but by then was out of gas. If your directions are telling you to turn and there’s no road where it’s telling you to turn, take this as a sign that you are doing something wrong.


  • Approximately 80 percent of people who get lost are day hikers who did not plan for emergency situations.
  • Before you go out on a trip, tell someone your planned route. If you get off course like this, chances are you will be in an area close enough to your planned route that someone will have some idea of where to look for you.
  • If you’re in the desert, or truly, anywhere where there is harsh summer weather, always take extra water. You can’t survive without water and you may use all of your physical reserves looking for it.
  • Carry an emergency blanket. In the desert, temperatures drop wildly at night and rise high during the day.
  • Bring sunscreen and protective clothing such as hats and long sleeves.
  • Bring something to signal with, like a mirror, whistle or something brightly colored.
  • Carry a first-aid kit with basic supplies.
  • Rest. Conserve your energy as much as you can.
  • Keep a positive mental attitude. Keep something in your pack or car, like a deck of cards at a minimum, that can help you pass some time.
  • Keep a notebook and pen in your car so you can leave notes, as Amber did.

Image from Associated Press showing the positioning of Amber Van Hecke’s car by the silo and her HELP sign made of rocks.

The desert is an incredible environment to explore. Rock formations, vibrant colors, and varied landscapes make the hiking experience incredibly rewarding.

However, hiking in the desert comes with some serious risks. Even if you’re not planning to be gone for long, let someone know where you’re planning to hike and what time they should expect you to be back.

People who aren’t prepared to spend extended time in the desert frequently get in trouble due to dehydration, heat exhaustion, poor equipment, temperature fluctuations and flash flooding. These dangers can be easily avoided with preparation and awareness.

Around 80 percent of people who get lost are day hikers who aren’t prepared to spend more than a few hours in the wilderness.

If you find yourself lost, remember these seven priorities of survival.

1- Positive Mental Attitude: Maintaining a positive mental attitude is essential to survival. A clear mind will help you strategize a plan to keep you safe and help rescuers locate you. Your mental attitude will also help you conserve your energy so that you do not exhaust yourself by making poor choices.

2- Water: The desert is typically very hot and very dry. Because there are virtually no reliable water sources in the desert, you will need to pack at least a gallon of water per person for each day you plan to be hiking. Hydrate before you leave for the hike. Make sure you have iodine tablets or another method of purifying water so that you can safely drink water that you find.

3- Shelter: Temperatures can fluctuate dramatically in the desert. During the summer, temperatures can reach upwards of 115 degrees during the heat of the day. Wear long-sleeved clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect you from the sun. Carry an emergency blanket to provide a quick and effective shelter in case you get lost or injured.

4- Signaling: Always carry some sort of signaling device with you when you’re hiking. A whistle, signal mirror and brightly colored bandana can easily fit in a pack and can help rescuers locate you. If you’re in the backcountry, consider packing a satellite phone or personal locator beacon. You can use these devices to call for help in case of emergency.

5- Fire: The ability to make fire can save your life in case of an emergency. Fire provides an essential heat source to keep you warm when temperatures drop, and it also helps rescuers identify your location. Always pack fire starting tools and make you know how to use them before you hike.

6- First Aid Kit: The desert can bring many dangers. Make sure you have a first aid kit that is stocked with bandages, ointments, antiseptic wipes, allergy medications, painkillers and any other medications you may need.

7- Rest: If you are lost, you will need to conserve your energy. The desert sun is brutal. Avoid hiking in the heat of the day to reduce your risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration. Stay put and use your signaling devices to help increase the likelihood that you will be found.

If you are lost in the desert, these seven priorities of survival will help you stay calm and provide you with the tools you need to stay alive and get rescued.