Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Extreme homes. 1: Mcmurdo station......

This sprawl of buildings is Mcmurdo Station.... 

  
It's on the coast of Antarctica, the land at the end of the world. 
 
During the summer the Sun never sets.
During the winter it never rises, and the temperature averages minus thirty degrees Celsius.
 
Although you do get views like this:
 
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And yet, incredibly, this is home away from home for over a thousand men women and children. Mcmurdo is the largest settlement, and the capital that Antarctica officially doesn't have*: It has schools, bars, places to take yoga classes, and the worlds most southern cash machine. Its the worlds most southerly safe harbour, it's one end of Antarctica's only highway, and it has three airfields. It has greenhouses, where the inhabitants can grow a small amount of fruit.
 
It has seals, who are probably getting a bit pissed off with the scientists from the base:
 
 
 
In fact it has science galore: observatories for everything from seismic waves to the ozone layer, to cosmic rays. It has a cadre of crack divers that study the teeming life under the pack ice. It has a LOT of penguins, who spend their time eating the other sea life and laughing at the divers.
 
And, for some reason, it has a gigantic red bus called Ivan.
 
 
 
 *Because Antarctica is officially international territory, and doesn't get a capital. Not because it's all a CIA cover up involving aliens.... Everyone knows the aliens land at the north pole, sheesh...