Backed by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and in cooperation with Delft University of Technology, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Conoship Naval Architects, we produced a feasibility study and basic design of MARVEL. This Modular Arctic Research Vessel is especially designed and equipped to investigate the hardly accessible drift-ice zone and to safely withstand the dynamic pressures of drifting ice under harsh weather conditions. This strong and compact vessel will operate autonomously during four to five months throughout the polar winter night, with a limited crew of scientists, engineers and navigators. The crew operates like astronauts in a space station: Icenauts who will be supported 24/7 by a Ground Control Station.