The geographic South Pole with the new United States Amundsen-Scott Station on the right and the old dome station on the left. The new station dedication occurred on Jan 21st of this year, officially replacing the 1975 icon.
Unique patterns in the ceiling of the old South Pole Dome. Look closely and you'll see a rubber chicken with a rope tied around its neck dangling off the peak, just a little South Pole humor.
The new station only sleeps 150 people, leaving the remaining 90 employees outside living in Jamesways, or weatherports, a 1/4 mile away. The floor of these accomodations typically hoovers around 0˚F, while the 6 X 10 dimensions make for a cozy space. If you come as a couple, you'll be lucky enough to qualify for one of these 'larger' rooms.
Water wells and plumbing needs at the South Pole require unique and creative engineering. Down in the tunnels, 60 feet below the station's footprint, you will find the pipes which respectively carry both. This 'poop tube' runs 1800 feet to a melted out 'teardrop' deep in the ice, a holding tank for human waste. When this one fills, the tube will be redirected to the next teardrop, a hole created from recirculating hot water and used for the station's drinking water. The temperatures of these tunnels are an amazing -60˙F!
Ever look down a 24oo meter hole? That's over 7800 feet (or a mile and a half) of melted ice into the bottom of the world. Around 2 1/2 feet wide, this hole is one of 18 scientists are drilling this year at the south pole in their creation of a neutrino observatory. Why study neutrinos? Nearly impossible to detect, neutrinos are created during the most violent events of the solar system: black holes, gamma ray bursts, and supernovas. By tracking neutrino movement, scientists will be able to gather more information about distant cosmic events like never before. Upon its completion, the IceCube project will be one of the most expensive Antarctica projects yet, costing around $272 million dollars.
One of 4800 DOM's, or Digital Optical Modules that are used to detect neutrinos. Each hole contains 60 of these sensors. By the end of the project, 80 holes will be drilled.
Lead carpenter Don Potter stands in front of the South Pole Telescope. Powerful enough to go back in time 400,000 years after the "Big Bang," this telescope will detect the energy that existed before atomic particles, as we know them, were created. It's goal is to help scientists understand the evolution of the universe.
Even the South Pole has a thrift shop...
Weather balloons are released all around the world, twice a day, in order to gather meteorlogical information used in weather forecasting. I figure, there's no better place to help release one of these balloons than from the South Pole itself!
South pole as seen from the air. On the upper right side of the airplane track is the station itself, while the lower left is a view of two of the large science experiments currently being conducted at the bottom of the world.