Virtual Tour - Life at the South Pole


Life at the South Pole, especially over the long winter, is pretty unusual in some ways. No planes fly into the South Pole during the austral winter, from about 15 February to about 25 October. The people who live here in the winter are totally isolated except for radio and electronic communications.

It's not easy. It's actually similar to the environment that one would encounter in interplanetary travel, like if we go to Mars -- confined spaces, only a few people, and no way to "get away" by going outside because it's such a hostile environment. But, as people always do, they find ways to get the job done and have fun too. Having a rather substantial video library and collection of video games helps a lot.

Although it's pretty flat at the Pole, the piles built up from the bulldozers can make for some great sledding!

Every bit of waste has to be flown out of the continent again, so recycling is very important. Here are all the recycling containers in three places - inside a living area, inside the dome between buildings in a central area, and out by the jetway ready to go back to New Zealand. Photos: CARA/J. Sweitzer and R. Landsberg

Even more pictures

Robert Schwarz (1996-1997 and 1997-1998 winterover) has volunteered to show us his dorm room in Upper Berthing, a dorm in the Science Building.

It's very dry at the Pole. Fire and water are constant concerns.

For the people who stay here over the long winter, the Sun, and its presence (or absence!) is a fairly big deal.

Living in this kind of harsh environment provides some unique challenges.

Miscellaneous snapshots of Life at the South Pole.

Naturally, a separate language has developed among people at the Pole. That link takes you out of the CARA virtual tour; use your browser's "back" button to come back here.


There are several travelogues online in various places about Life at the South Pole. Please see our links page for a collection. That link takes you out of the CARA virtual tour; use your browser's "back" button to come back here.


Go back to the map of the dome.