My South Pole Obsession: Unveiling the Quirky World Beneath the Ice

For most, the South Pole conjures images of desolate landscapes, bone-chilling temperatures, and perhaps a touch of penguin intrigue. But for me, it’s a place of captivating mystery, a hotbed of scientific discovery. The obsession with the polar regions, started from my MS thesis “Identification of Psychological Stressors for Long Duration Space Missions” and has been fueled by countless documentaries, research papers, and even a video titled “Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station Tour,” on Gone Venturing’s YouTube has led me down a rabbit hole of fascinating details (He is not the only person who has tours, but it was the first one I found).

The station is an elevated two story station which looks vaguely like a lego on it’s side.  There is a main hallway, with four hallways off the main hallway.  They are divided into two main sections (A and B) with four pods each (A1-A4, B1-B4).

(BTW If you have the “Wander” app on Oculus and tell it to take you to the South Pole, it will take you to the inside of the station and you can walk down the hallway and see into some of the rooms.)

A few years ago, Jason Michaud (Stardust Technologies) asked me to go through the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station Tour videos and list what they had so he could get some ideas for Serenity Station, his own space analog.  Since he never paid me for that or anything else that I did for him (to which he owes me several thousand dollars over the course of a few years), and I am now involved with a different space analog company who could likely use this research which I want to remove from my computer anyway, I figured I would post it here.

 

Anyway, here are the rooms/important areas that they have to allow the researchers not only to function but to thrive.

 

Runway for aircraft (obviously)

Main Station

  • Lounge (they have multiple lounges)
    B3 has projector, and small library
    B1 lounge (pool table, dart board, chess, mini kitchen, Foosball)
    B1 TV lounge (video games, huge dvd library)
  • Popcorn machine – what is movie night without popcorn?
  • Coat room
  • Music room (tuba, drums, guitars, cello, etc.)
  • “Big Gym” (ie whiffleball, tennis, basketball) – looks like a typical high school gym which also serves as party location and has a projector for movie nights
  • “Small gym” – overlooks the big gym and contains weights/treadmills/ etc
  • Display cases along the main hall – (they have former south pole toppers since they have to be replaced every so often)
  • Workshop / tools room
  • Main IT comms office – servers, radios
  • Smoking deck – (outside obviously)
  • Emergency power plant – Just in case everything goes to hell
  • Craft room
  • Table for things you don’t want anymore and don’t want to take back when you leave – think half empty shampoo bottles, etc.  (I’d probably just live on that stuff so I didn’t have to bring as much with me)
  • Quiet Reading Room (though it has a piano go figure)
  • Individual berth areas (small desk, small bed, small window, the bathrooms are shared)
  • Laundry room where you can do 1 load per week (I suppose they should invest in mostly merino wool clothing!  It’s designed for that!)
  • Greenhouse where they grow fresh fruits and vegetables hydroponically
  • Store to buy supplies/toiletries/booze/souvenirs (open 3 days a week)
  • Recycling and waste management – they are not kidding about recycling and waste management.  Everything that comes to the South Pole will leave the South Pole.
  • Sauna
  • Observation deck
  • Large conference room – can be used as a classroom too
  • Small Conference room – like 10 people maybe.
  • Administration/Offices
  • Normal communications room (as opposed to IT) / Flighttracking / Incident Command Center
  • Massage chair (in communications room)
  • Office Supply room (huge)
  • Science Lab (computer labs, meteorology department, fume hood, telescope, aurora cam)
  • Emergency Communications (ham radio)
  • Computer Lab including IT department
  • Photos of winter over crews along the hallway
  • Infirmary/Sickbay – includes dentist, trauma bay, ward area, and pharmacy)
  • Galley/Dining Room (includes coffee bar, community fridges, ice cream freezers, “left over fridge”)

 

Transition to the tunnels (they call it the “Beer Can”)

  • Logistics area
  • Main power plant
  • Water treatment plant
  • “Do not freeze” section
  • Freezable storage (usually food)
  • Elevator
  • Fuel arch
  • Vehicle Maintenance Facility
  • Carpenter / woodworking area
  • Machine shop (for welding, etc.)

As of Summer 2022.  If there are any updates please send me a message.

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