My Epic Journey to Antarctica – The Mission

I have always sought a life of adventure and, for the most part, that is what I have lived. A lot of it comes from just being lucky and in the right place at the right time.  That happened again to me in 2018 when a group was put together to meet the National Science Foundation’s desire to rebuild McMurdo Station – the main U.S. Base in Antarctica.  The base was originally built in 1956 by the U.S. Navy using pretty basic structures like Quonset huts. It was expanded over the years and finally the NSF took over the mission from the Navy in 1968. The site continued to add on buildings to serve different functions and the result was a “shanty-town” type of experience. This is particularly inefficient in an area where people may be confined to a building due to the weather for several days at a time.

an aerial view of a town
Aerial view of McMurdo Station, which sits along the shoreline of Ross Island, a volcanic island in the Ross Sea. Three wind turbines can be seen on the hill in the upper right. These turbines sit between the US McMurdo Station and New Zealand’s Scott Base, providing renewable energy for both stations. The Swedish icebreaker ODEN can be seen in the lower left, at the ice pier in Winter Quarters Bay. 7 February 2010

Photo and caption courtesy of NSF.

The facilities were not something for America to look proudly at, particularly in comparison to some of the space age research stations built by other countries such as India and South Korea. At least our South Pole Station looks cool even though it is moving!

a building with a flag on the roof

Here is a view of the new main building which is part of the program. This program will consolidate over 100 builds into just six mega-buildings. A lot easier to get from where you live to where you work safely. This view of the main building is meant to evoke images of an iceberg. OZ Architects did a good job with this concept.

a building with a large courtyard

Photo from Discover Magazine of an OZ Architects rendering.

Just to leave you with something ultra-cool. Here is the aerial view of McMurdo. It is on the slope of the only active volcano (Mt. Erebus) in Antarctica and is an island surrounded by sea ice. This island also contains the New Zealand Scott Base. Planes land out on the sea ice beyond where the words “McMurdo Sound” are shown.

a satellite view of a mountain

Next episode – how to get there!


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