Written by Phin Upham
Named after the two explorers who risked everything they had to reach the South Pole, the research station in Antarctica is located at the Geographic South Pole. Prior to its construction in 1956, there were no man-made structures still standing in Antarctica.
As the station is located in the geographic South Pole, it is the only location on Earth where the sun is up for six months out of the year, then down for the other six. This condition creates one of the coldest regions on Earth during the “one long night” effect.
The station has been reconstructed several times over its long history in the region. The original station was constructed by an eighteen-man crew, and is referred to as “Old Pole.” The unknown weather conditions in the area meant that the facility had to be partially underground to protect from the elements.
A geodesic dome that measured 50 meters in width was the second iteration of the structure, well after the weather had been studied thoroughly. The station was meant as a research destination for the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. The original design included a sky lab, or a box-shaped tower that raised just above the dome. The structure was disassembled during the summer of 2009-2010.
The most recent version of the structure includes an adjustable elevation. This is meant to accommodate constantly shifting foundations, where snow may settle and cause damage to the structure over time. The building can even expand to house different volumes of research teams throughout the year.