106 years ago, on December 14, 1911, the famous Norwegian traveler Roald Amundsen first reached the South Pole. In honor of this day, we decided to see how polar explorers live in our time.
A photo blogger Sergei Dolya tells: “The Amundsen-Scott station, named after the discoverers of the South Pole, impresses with its scope and technology. The complex of buildings, around which for thousands of kilometers there is nothing but ice, is downright its own separate world. We did not reveal all the scientific and research secrets, however, we had a most interesting tour of the residential blocks and showed how polar explorers live ... "
Initially, during construction, the station was located exactly at the geographical South Pole, but because of the movement of ice, the base shifted to 200 meters to one side over several years.
This is our DC-3 aircraft. In fact, it was heavily modified by Basler, and virtually all of the stuffing in it, including avionics and engines, is new.
The plane can land both on the ground and on the ice.
This photo clearly shows how close the station is to the historic South Pole (group of flags in the center). And the lonely flag on the right is the geographical South Pole.
Upon arrival we were met by an employee of the station and gave us a tour of the main building.
It stands on stilts, as well as many houses in the north. This was done so that the building did not melt the ice beneath it and not “float”. In addition, the space below is perfectly blown by the winds (in particular, the snow under the station has not been cleaned even once since its construction).
Entrance to the station: you must climb the stairs two flights. Due to the fact that the air is rarefied, this is not easy.
At the pole during our visit it was –25 degrees. We flew in full outfit - three layers of clothing, hats, balaclava, etc. - and here we were suddenly met by a guy in a light sweater and crocs. He said that he was accustomed: he had survived several winters and the maximum frost that he found here was minus 73 degrees. Forty minutes while we walked around the station, he walked around like this.
The station inside is simply amazing.To begin with, it has a huge gym. Popular games among employees are basketball and badminton. The station uses 10,000 gallons of aviation kerosene per week for heating.
Some statistics: 170 people live and work at the station, 50 people stay in the winter. They feed in the local canteen for free. They work 6 days a week for 9 hours a day. On Sunday, everyone has a day off. Chefs, too, have a day off, and everyone, as a rule, has eaten what is left unfinished in the refrigerator from Saturday.
There is a room for trainings, conferences and similar events. When we walked by, there was a Spanish lesson.
The station is two-story. On each floor it is permeated by a long corridor. Residential blocks go to the right, to the left - scientific and research.
Near the balcony, with a view of the outbuildings station.
Everything that can be stored in unheated rooms lies in these hangars.
This is the neutrino observatory IceCube, by which scientists catch neutrinos from space. In short, it happens like this: a collision of a neutrino and an atom produces particles, known as muons, and a flash of blue light, called Vavilov-Cherenkov radiation. Optical sensors IceCube will be able to recognize it in clear arctic ice.Usually for neutrino observatories they dig a mine at a depth and fill it with water, but the Americans decided not to waste time on trifles and built the IceCube at the South Pole, where there is plenty of ice. The size of the observatory is 1 cubic kilometer, hence, apparently, the name. Project cost - 270 million dollars
Science Lab. We were not allowed in, but the door was opened. Pay attention to the bins: the station is practiced by the separate collection of garbage.
Fire departments. Standard American system: each has its own closet, in front of him is a fully-ready uniform.
The station is the most expensive and most inaccessible gift shop in the world. A year ago, Evgeny Kaspersky was here, and he had no cash (he wanted to pay with a card). When I went, Zhenya gave a thousand dollars and asked to buy everything in the store. Of course, I filled my bag with souvenirs, after which my fellow travelers began to hate me quietly, since I created a queue for half an hour. By the way, in this store you can buy beer and soda, but they are sold only to station employees.
There is a table with seals "South Pole". We all took passports and stamped it.
The station even has its own greenhouse and greenhouse. Now they are not necessary because there is a message to the outside world. And in the winter, when communication with the outside world is interrupted for several months, employees grow their vegetables and greens.
Every employee has the right to use the laundry once a week. You can shower 2 times a week for 2 minutes, that is, 4 minutes a week. I was told that they usually save and wash every two weeks. Honestly, by the smell, I already guessed.
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