NEO – John Kerry’s Trip to the South Pole
As we are on the verge of the last month of the year, we have our own personal histories of how bizarre the past year has been, and look at the new year with trepidation over what planned horrors await us by the old cast of characters, and the new with the Trump gang.
I talk to more than a few whose future strategy has changed from trying to influence events for the better, to how they are going to personally survive with their families. Loss of faith in the integrity of the government extends not only to the economic issues, but the security ones.
They are becoming fearful of a government (or whoever really runs it) continually manufacturing threats on a scale as a diversion for something else they don’t want us to see, which they are doing behind the scenes.
So why did the US Secretary of State John Kerry going to the South Pole, as US presidential elections were being held on November 8, 2016, and why was the news provided late in the game and as an unexpected surprise?
One need to keep in mind that many US states allowed early voting, so millions of Americans had already cast their ballots beforehand; they and perhaps Kerry too did not have to be in their home districts on polling day, or perhaps he did not want to wait in long lines like in places like Ohio where the number of polling stations were reduced to keep some categories from voting.
Presumably John Kerry is not one of these and his vote would have been counted. It will be remembered that Kerry stood for president himself, against George W. Bush, and would have beaten him if he had won Ohio, which he failed to do by only a few thousand votes. So you would imagine a man of such experience and seniority would be out on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton right until the polls close in the East of the country, which is when candidates traditionally claim victory or concede defeat.
But Kerry wasn’t even in the country in November 8th. He was considered so important that he had been sent to – of all places – the South Pole. While the rest of his party was hard campaigning for Clinton he was chilling it at the US military-scientific facilities there, apparently looking into something to do with “environmental policy” which wasn’t part of his job description last time anyone looked.
However, perhaps now, in retrospect, he knew the election results that many are now claiming was a total surprise—how all the poll results were wrong and the American people had spoken in rejecting the status quo, and all what Clinton and those who stand behind her stand for.
Nonetheless, on a lighter note, no one knows the full extent of the US footprint in Antarctica as it is all classified. The bases there are known primarily for drug abuse, which was once widespread, with the US itself supplying the drugs to its own employees as it did in Vietnam.
But Kerry’s visit there was unlikely to have influenced the outcome of the election, or indeed much else. Unless the US is willfully changing the environment of regional countries from its Antarctic bases it seems very odd that Kerry should have gone to the South Pole, and then followed up with a tour of the Southern hemisphere countries, to discuss such an issue at such an inopportune time.
So why was Kerry sent to the South Pole, about as far away from the election as possible? There are plenty of possibilities, many of which are credible. But as ever, the most unlikely one is the most likely to be true – and it isn’t pretty.
Poles not so far apart
One day the performance artist Laurie Anderson decided she would go and visit the North Pole, just like that. She managed to get near it and found it was a restricted area, owned by the US military, so she couldn’t actually reach the pole itself.
Anderson’s North Pole trip was in 1974. Five years later a New Zealand airliner crashed into one of the Antarctic mountains, or so we were told. As a result, all civilian over flights of the South Pole were also banned.
The US doesn’t extend as far north as the North Pole, or as far south as the South Pole, but they have somehow become US-controlled territory regardless, part of the vast swathe of land where the US exacts different forms of taxation without giving the inhabitants representation.
In Merab Ratishvili’s novel White Lama the leading character ends up going to the South Pole. He finds a gap in the ice and discovers a hidden colony of very tall psychics, who live in a temperate climate and grow tropical fruit trees.
That is only a story, but it is based on a real event: the attempted Nazi colonisation of Antarctica in 1938. These characters are alleged to be descendants of those Nazis, maintained by foreign powers for the own purposes.
For many years it has been rumoured that the Nazis built some sort of scientific-military base in Antarctica. They are most unlikely to have gone all that way on a fishing expedition. As their victims knew, the Nazis were very well-organised and efficient.
We know for example that if they had invaded England they were intending to use the town of Bridgenorth as their UK operations base – a very sensible choice, as it is near the geographical centre of the UK, between its two main industrial hubs of the time and gives easy access to all the important cross-country transport and communications routes.
After the Second World War, a number of leading Nazis were spirited away to the US on ratlines so that they would neither stand trial for their crimes, nor have their knowledge fall into the hands of the Russians.
In 1947, US Admiral Richard E. Byrd led 4,000 American, British and Australian troops in an invasion of Antarctica called “Operation Highjump”. This and at least one follow-up expedition was called off because the troops came under attack by what are described as “flying saucers”.
Even in the country whose citizens went running to the hills when Orson Welles told them that the Martians had landed their military do not run away from flying saucers.
Why is the US unable to describe what forces were unleashed against the invasion force, and by whom? What truth is so frightening it has to be shrouded in science fiction terms in order for people to dismiss the reports?
Whatever the Nazis did in Antarctica, the US probably found out about it. The US biolab in Tbilisi is one of a number of dubious former Soviet facilities it has taken over and turned into restricted areas in the same way.
It would be in character for the US Antarctic base to have once been operated by a foreign power, and have been taken over for “scientific purposes” most self-respecting scientists would never touch; those with military applications the US always denies until it can gain political capital from them.
Cats among the penguins
Kerry does have an indirect connection with the Nazis. Like the Bush family, he too is part of the Skull n Bones secret society. George Bush Sr’s father, Prescott Bush, ran the Bank of America which financed the Nazi Party’s initial bid for power, and got its own money from somewhere.
Antarctic expeditions cost a lot of money, particularly when a country is spending vast amounts on armament production preparing for war. Kerry may have a personal connection with whatever is going on down there now, which the US keeps strictly under wraps.
But there are also precedents for sending important people to the South Pole at historic turning points, which this US election is bound to be, whoever wins.
The most famous concerned Colonel Leroy Fletcher Prouty, Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President John F. Kennedy. He was on his way to the South Pole on a government mission at the time John F. Kennedy was shot, and for the rest of his life maintained that that was not a coincidence but a deliberate attempt to get him out of the way so that he could not impede what he later stated was a plot.
Prouty retired from military service soon after the assassination, despite the siren call of the pension, and always maintained that the CIA assassinated Kennedy to prevent him taking it over after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba. He also maintained that the CIA itself answered to a shadowy global elite rather than the US government, and that this elite acts with impunity throughout the world. If so, it does so through secret societies, like Skull n Bones.
As Colonel Prouty had worked in senior CIA roles for years he had considerable inside knowledge of how that organisation operated and who did what.
He was dismissed as a crackpot, as all those who dispute the official version of the Kennedy assassination are, but his claim that Edward Lansdale, the basis of Burdick and Lederer’s novel The Ugly American, was present at the scene as one of the “Three Tramps” is perfectly consistent with what the public knows about Lansdale and his work, let alone what Prouty must have known.
We should all hope that no one is planning a political assassination. But there is some reason why Kerry was being kept out of the way. We can speculate what his connections with the shadowy global elite are, but we know his connections with the US government.
If the government wanted him out of the way on Election Day, with all his campaign experience, we can assume that whatever someone doesn’t want him to see, or he himself doesn’t want to be implicated in, involves the current US administration itself.
He who knows least lives longest
Though various Americans once claimed to have been the first man to reach the North Pole, the claims of each one were disputed, largely by other Americans. The first people who undoubtedly reached the North Pole were the crew of the airship Norge, which flew over it in 1926. Their commander was Roland Amundsen, who had also famously been the first person to reach the South Pole in 1912, that time by land.
Amundsen did not enjoy this triumph for long, as he disappeared along with his plane and five crewmen two years later. He was searching for the missing crew of the Airship Italia, commanded by one of his 1926 crew, Umberto Nobile. Neither most of Amundsen’s plane, or any of the bodies, have ever been found.
The Airship Italia disaster aroused a lot of suspicion at the time and since. The Italian government refused to fund this polar flight. When the airship crashed one of the crew twice tried to commit suicide. The Italian ship supposedly monitoring the distress signals from the survivors ignored them and the Italian government made no attempt to rescue its stranded citizens. Eventually Captain Nobile and his pet dog were rescued while his men were left on the ice, most unusually, and many of these later disappeared without trace, just as Amundsen was later to do, having volunteered as a private citizen to lead a rescue attempt.
Maybe Nobile himself didn’t know what his polar mission was supposed to accomplish. But it was clearly something people in high places did know, and were embarrassed by. Amundsen’s death left Nobile as the person who knew more about the two poles than anyone else, and he was subject to a smear campaign which had the effect of damaging anything he might say later, just as the one against Prouty did.
Now we have a situation where the poles are considered so important that they are restricted areas controlled by the world’s only superpower. But few people fight over other inhospitable areas. This is why various Eskimo and desert peoples are allowed to continue their traditional way of life, rather than being forcibly “civilized” by great powers, as, for example, the highly cultured Tibetans are by the Chinese.
This changes when energy resources are involved. But even then the oil and gas-rich zones do not become restricted. They may be taken over by big corporations working hand in glove with foreign governments, but what they are doing is trumpeted to the skies, not restricted to an inner circle which probably doesn’t include most of those carrying out the work.
Frozen before the politicians get there
John Kirby, the man who is trying to minimise terrorism and helping John Kerry prevent the Saudi government being prosecuted for their part in 9/11, was apparently expecting to go along with Kerry to the South Pole base when he gave his briefing. We do not know what is going on at the US South Pole base, but we do know what is happening at some other US bases with a similar classified level.
In each case, what we know is connected with terrorism: manufacturing biological weapons, arming and training terrorists, spying on the local population and then strangely failing to discover successful terrorist outrages in advance, despite the US admitting straight after them that it knows a great deal about the terrorists involved.
At one time the Southern hemisphere wasn’t a problem to the US. A string of compliant democratic governments and military dictatorships kept things under control well enough, despite some local terrorist groups doing their best to remove them. It could concentrate on other parts of the globe, like the Middle East, and simply send in new diplomats, or CIA torture trainers, to sort out any government that started backsliding.
Now the worm has begun to turn. The Broad Left remains in control of Uruguay, despite being composed of former urban guerrillas who were tortured by previous US-backed regimes.
Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte is cosying up to China and telling the US it has lost an ally, and despite his backtracking on this in later statements his new deals with China remain in place. Chile and Paraguay have elected leaders determined to move on from the US-controlled past, and even Nauru, the tiny phosphate-rich but future-challenged Pacific state, is selling itself to the highest bidder, a new one every week, whatever the US thinks about it.
So there are reasons Kerry wanted to go to the Southern hemisphere and find new levers of influence. But he doesn’t know whether he will be Secretary of State after the election, or who any new Secretary of State will report to. Whatever Kerry does now the new US president, Donald Trump, will just have to tolerate.
Of course, Kerry cannot take overtly political initiatives without knowing who the new president was going to be. But he started his diplomatic tour by having visited the South Pole – as mysterious, but nevertheless blatant, a command and control centre as the US has anywhere, as its own behaviour towards it makes clear.
Such actions are not likely to be legal or desirable actions if they began with a visit to the US South Pole base. Whomever Kerry was really working with on a highly-contested election day remains a big question; it was likely someone whose interest is in a transparent government, rule of law which are the kind of things a real democratic system is supposed to stand for.
Trekking through the Antarctic ice and snow is already a tough job - but Google has persuaded researchers to go the extra mile and do it wearing their special street View backpack. The search giant has revealed a major update to its Antarctic images, adding a range of hard to reach places. It persuaded researchers at the Polar Geospatial Center to carry the trekker, a 42 pound backpack with 15 lenses.
Bull Pass in the Murdo Dry Valleys: a relatively ice-free area on a continent where ice covers more than 99 percent of the land.
GOOGLE'S TREKKER BACKPACK
Google’s Trekker is a modified backpack that carries a 42-pound camera and battery. The Trekker is operated by a smart phone and consists of 15 lenses angled in a different direction so the images can be stitched together into 360-degree panoramic views. It is controlled by a smartphone, and images electronically stitched together. 'It’s very exciting because there’s so much more potential for it being useful to scientists,' said Cole Kelleher, acartographer and support coordinator at PGC, which is headquartered at the University of Minnesota. Kelleher captured most of the imagery using Google’s Trekker, a modified backpack that carries a 42-pound camera and battery.
The Trekker is operated by a smart phone and consists of 15 lenses angled in a different direction so the images can be stitched together into 360-degree panoramic views.
It has previously been used to capture the Grand Canyon, the River Thames and hundreds of other areas around the world where Google's cars and trikes can't reach.
The Internet giant recently unveiled its latest batch of panoramic imagery for its Google Maps and Google Earth applications that include some remote and stunning areas of Antarctica.
PGC cartographer Cole Kelleher walks through the Adélie penguin colony at Cape Royds with the Google Street View camera strapped onto his back.
The mobile Trekker camera was introduced last year and first used in Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
Photos are taken roughly every 2½ seconds while the walker is in motion.
The basketball-sized ball that contains the camera sat about a foot above Kelleher’s head, making the device a bit awkward to carry at times.
'It’s very top heavy. … That was probably the toughest part – taking care of it and trying not to damage it,' Kelleher told the Atlantic Sun.
'I told [Google] it would probably not come back in the condition it goes out in.
'You’re out in the middle of nowhere.
'It’s tough terrain - although I only fell about three times.'
Many of the Street View images released are from the McMurdo Dry Valleys a relatively ice-free area on a continent where ice covers more than 99 percent of the land.
The Cape Royal Adelie Penguin Colony: The Adélie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae, is a species of penguin common along the entire Antarctic coast. They are among the most southerly distributed of all seabirds. In 1840, French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville named them for his wife, Adèle.
Arena Valley in the Antarctic: An ice-free valley, between East Beacon and New Mountain, which opens to the south side of Taylor Glacier in Victoria Land. It was given this descriptive name by the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition
The terrain is often rocky and rough, with thick glaciers slumped over saddles like melted ice cream. Images like those of Arena Valley look like they could have been sent back from Mars.
The imagery was shot during the course of field research by Kelleher and PGC geospatial analyst Spencer Niebuhr.
The informal partnership between PGC and Google began more than two years ago.
Last year, Google released the first batch of Antarctic Street View imagery that had been shot by PGC.
A short distance from the Geographic South Pole is the Ceremonial South Pole, situated in front of the elevation station building - and it was added in an earlier Google project. It consists of a metallic, mirrored ball atop a ¿barber pole¿ plinth. Surrounding the marker in a semicircle are the flags of the 12 original Antarctic Treaty signatory nations, a tribute to Antarctica¿s preservation on the environment and dedication to scientific research.
It included 3D explorable panoramas of the huts used by two fo the greatest Antarctic explorers - Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott.
The huts have been preserved by the intense cold - and offer an insight into the grim conditions faced by Scott and Shackleton a century ago.
The panoramas were created by a lightweight tripod camera with a fisheye lens - as Google had not yet developed its backpack.
The interior of the hut has remained as it was when the explorers set sights on the South Pole .
In the winter of 1913, a British newspaper ran an advertisement to promote the latest imperial expedition to Antarctica, apparently placed by polar explorer by Ernest Shackleton.
It read, 'Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.'
The desolate exterior of Scott's hut illustrates the conditions the explorers had to face
Shackleton's hut has been preserved exactly as it was for decades
The 3D panoramas were created by backpack cameras with fisheye lenses
Equipment in Scott's hut: This new imagery was collected with a lightweight tripod camera with a fisheye lens
Life in Antarctica, searching for secrets
Geologists are entranced by Antarctica's secrets. Clues to answering humanity's most basic questions are locked in this continental freezer the size of the United States and half of Canada: Where did we come from? Are we alone in the universe? What's the fate of our warming planet?
Geologists are entranced by Antarctica's secrets. Clues to answering humanity's most basic questions are locked in this continental freezer the size of the United States and half of Canada: Where did we come from? Are we alone in the universe? What's the fate of our warming planet? Thousands of scientists come to Antarctica for research. There are also non-scientists, chefs, divers, mechanics, janitors and the priest from the world's southernmost Eastern Orthodox Church on top of a rocky hill at the Russian Bellinghausen station. For a dozen days in January, in the middle of the chilly Antarctic summer, The Associated Press followed scientists from different fields searching for alien-like creatures, hints of pollution trapped in pristine ancient ice, leftovers from the Big Bang, biological quirks that potentially could lead to better medical treatments, and perhaps most of all, signs of unstoppable melting. Earth's past, present and future come together in Antarctica- the wildest, most desolate and mysterious of continents. 1 of 19 -In this Jan. 20, 2015 photo, a church is lit in the town of Villa Las Estrellas on King George Island, Antarctica. Geologists are entranced by Antarctica's secrets. Clues to answering humanity's most basic questions are locked in this continental freezer the size of the United States and half of Canada: Where did we come from? Are we alone in the universe? What's the fate of our warming planet? (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)2 of 19 -In this Jan. 21, 2015 photo, scuba diver Luis Torres tests the water near the Chilean scientific station Escudero in Villa Las Estrellas on King George Island, part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago in Antarctica. For a dozen days in January, in the middle of the chilly Antarctic summer, The Associated Press followed scientists from different fields searching for alien-like creatures, hints of pollution trapped in pristine ancient ice, leftovers from the Big Bang, biological quirks that potentially could lead to better medical treatments, and perhaps most of all, signs of unstoppable melting. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)3 of 19 -In this Jan. 26, 2015 photo, penguin footprints cover the beach in Punta Hanna on Livingston Island, part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago in Antarctica. Earth's past, present and future come together here on the northern peninsula of Antarctica, the wildest, most desolate and mysterious of its continents. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)4 of 19 -In this Jan. 27, 2015 photo, penguins walk on the shore of Bahia Almirantazgo in Antarctica. "Antarctica, it's big and it's changing and it affects the rest of the planet and we can't afford to ignore what's going on down there," said David Vaughan, science director of the British Antarctic Survey. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)5 of 19 -In this Jan. 20, 2015 photo, wooden arrows show the distances to various cities near Chile's Escudero station on King George Island, Antarctica. Thousands of scientists come to Antarctica for research. There are also non-scientists, chefs, divers, mechanics, janitors and the priest of the worldís southernmost Eastern Orthodox Church on top of a rocky hill at the Russian Bellinghausen station. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)6 of 19 -In this Jan. 24, 2015 photo, Peter Convey, an ecologist for the British Antarctic Survey, searches for samples on Deception Island, part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago in Antarctica. Convey, who has been visiting Antarctica for 25 years, braved heavy rain, near freezing temperature and winds of more than 20 knots to collect samples of the spongy green and brown mosses that grow in patches on the ash of the volcanic islandís black rock mountains. He was looking for clues in their genetics to determine how long the species have been evolving on Antarctica, in isolation from other continents. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)7 of 19 -In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo, Chilean Navy officers push away ice by moving their boat in circles as they approach the Aquiles navy ship where they will pick up international scientists and take them to Chile's scientific Station Bernardo O'Higgins in Antarctica. While tourists come to Antarctica for its beauty and remoteness, scientists are all business. What they find could affect the lives of people thousands of miles away. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)8 of 19 -In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo, Chilean Navy officers transport scientists to Chile's Station Bernardo O'Higgins in Antarctica. Because there is no local industry, any pollution captured in the pristine ice and snow is from chemicals that traveled from afar, such as low levels of lead found in ice until it was phased out of gasoline, or radiation levels found from above-ground nuclear tests thousands of miles away and decades ago by the U.S. and the Soviet Union, according to David Vaughan, science director of the British Antarctic Survey. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)9 of 19 -In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo, a Gentoo penguin feeds its baby at Station Bernardo O'Higgins in Antarctica. "To understand many aspects in the diversity of animals and plants it's important to understand when continents disassembled," said Richard Spikings, a research geologist at the University of Geneva. "So we're also learning about the real antiquity of the Earth and how (continents) were configured together a billion years ago, half a billion years ago, 300 million years ago," he said, adding that the insights will help him understand Antarctica's key role in the jigsaw of ancient super continents. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)10 of 19 -In this Jan. 24, 2015 photo, a worker from the Chile's Antarctic Institute sits on the snow on Robert Island, part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago in Antarctica. NASA uses the remoteness of Antarctic to study what people would have to go through if they visited Mars. The dry air also makes it perfect for astronomers to peer deep into space and into the past. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)11 of 19 -In this Jan. 24, 2015 photo, snow surrounds buildings used by Chile's scientists on Robert Island, part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago in Antarctica. Temperatures can range from above zero in the South Shetlands and Antarctic Peninsula to the unbearable frozen lands near the South Pole. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)12 of 19 -In this Jan. 27, 2015 photo, an iceberg floats in the Bahia Almirantazgo near Livingston Island, part of the South Shetland Island archipelago in Antarctica. Antarctica conjures up images of quiet mountains and white plateaus, but the coldest, driest and remotest continent is far from dormant. The majority of it is covered by ice, and that ice is constantly moving. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)13 of 19 -In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo, ice floats in the Bellingshausen Sea near Chile's O'Higgins station in Antarctica. The ice in Antarctica tells how levels of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas, have fluctuated over hundreds of thousands of years. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)14 of 19 -In this Jan. 25, 2015 photo, Chile's Navy ship Aquiles moves alongside the Hurd Peninsula, seen from Livingston Islands, part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago in Antarctica. This is also the place where a hole in the ozone layer, from man-made refrigerants and aerosols, parks for a couple months when sunlight creeps back to Antarctica in August. It triggers a chemical reaction that destroys ozone molecules, causing a hole that peaks in September and then closes with warmer weather in November. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)15 of 19 -In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo taken through a window, a scientist collects samples outside near Chile's station Bernardo O'Higgins in Antarctica. The first explorers set foot in Antarctica hunting 19th-century riches of whale and seal oil and fur. Since then, the continent has proven a treasure chest for scientists trying to determine everything from the creation of the cosmos to how high seas will rise with global warming. "It's a window out to the universe and in time," said Kelly Falkner, polar program chief for the U.S. National Science Foundation. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)16 of 19 -In this Jan. 28, 2015 photo, Chilean Alejo Contreras looks through a window on King George Island in Antarctica. Exploring Antarctica is something Contreras, 53, began dreaming about as a teen after reading Robert Falcon Scott's journal of his journey to the South Pole. When Contreras finally got to the South Pole in 1988, he stopped shaving his beard. Antarctica is "like the planet's freezer," said Contreras, who has led more than a dozen expeditions to the continent. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)17 of 19 -In this Jan. 24, 2015 photo, members of the Spanish base Gabriel de Castilla, and scientists watch a movie on Deception Island, part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago in Antarctica. As an active volcano, Deception Island is a pot of extreme conditions. There are spots where the sea boils while in others it can be freezing. And while the sun rarely shines on the long, dark Antarctic winters, night time never seems to fall on summer days. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)18 of 19 -In this Jan. 24, 2015 photo, a scientist stands behind a window on the Spanish base Gabriel de Castilla on Deception Island, part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago in Antarctica. If experts are right, and the West Antarctic ice sheet has started melting irreversibly, what happens here will determine if cities such as Miami, New York, New Orleans, Guangzhou, Mumbai, London and Osaka will have to regularly battle flooding from rising seas. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)19 of 19 -In this Feb. 1, 2015 photo, Holy Trinity church stands illuminated at Russia's Bellinghausen station on King George Island in Antarctica. Holy Trinity is the world's southernmost Eastern Orthodox Church. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
The science station that can go skiing! Incredible pictures of Britain’s £26m mobile research centre sliding across the Antarctic's frozen wastes. Spaceship design will prevent station from being buried under the snow. Scientists will have labs, a gym and a bar. Building the station took four years. It looks like a spaceship from the Star Wars universe which has crash-landed on a frozen planet. But this futuristic-looking facility on skis, which opens 100 years after Robert Scott's iconic expedition to Antarctica, is actually the £25.8 million future of cutting-edge research on the frozen continent. It is the world's first movable research centre designed specifically to be towed around to avoid it being buried under snow in the unforgiving region.
This is the amazing £26million British research centre that has been built on skis in the Antarctic to keep it from sinking into the snowy wastes below
The base can be slid across the frozen surface to beat the shifting ice and pounding snow that doomed its predecessors.
The British Antarctic Survey said Wednesday that the Halley VI Research Station, designed by British firm Hugh Broughton Architects, is the sixth facility to occupy the site on the Brunt Ice Shelf - a floating sheet of ice about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the edge of the South Atlantic.
Most of the previous stations were crushed under the weight of the polar snow, while Halley V had to be abandoned due to fears that the station would be lost if the ice sheet split apart, said survey spokesman Paul Seagrove.
Solitude: Antarctica is the most isolated place on Earth - but its remote location means the scientists will be able to see the stunning aurora australis. Halley VI is made up of four-legged modules linked by enclosed walkways. The centre will house between 16 and 52 members of staff, depending on the time of year. A central social hub will give residents the chance to relax and contains a dining room, bar and a gym.
A vacuum drainage system keeps water consumption down, and the ski-clad stilts keep the units about 4 meters (13 feet) above the level of the ice. The inside of the centre has been been specially designed to support crew numbers ranging from 52 in the summer to 16 during the three months of total darkness in winter, when temperatures at the base drop as low as -56C. It has triple-glazed windows and a quiet room at the north end of the station is included for residents to contemplate the Antarctic environment in peace.
Futuristic: Scientists will be housed in triple-glazed modules that sit on skis high above the snowy surface
Home from home: The modules will house labs, a dining room, a bar and a gym
Snowy wastes: Previous stations have been dogged by the punishing conditions
A long way from home: The vast frozen continent is uninhabited apart from the shifting population of scientists
Linked: The scientists won't have to go outside to move between modules as they will be joined together by walkways
If the station needs to be moved, the modules are disconnected and then towed to a new location, Seagrove said.
THE HALLEY VI STATION
The designers were tasked with creating a cutting-edge laboratory and living accommodation that was capable of withstanding the extreme winter weather, and it took architects eight years to come up with the cutting-edge design.
The station was built over four years because engineers could only work for a nine-week period during the Antarctic summer. The total cost of the station was nearly £26 million.
The skis on the bottom of the structure allow the centre to be raised high enough to stay above metres of annual snowfall as well as making it easy to move when required.
This is especially important to avoid the centre - and its occupants - being stranded on an iceberg as the floating ice shelf moves towards the sea.
The new research station replaces the 20-year old Halley V facility.
It is the sixth to be built on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf in a region that has established itself as an important natural laboratory for studying the Earth's magnetic field and the near-space atmosphere.
It was data from the previous station that led to the 1985 BAS discovery of the ozone hole.
Professor Alan Rodger, interim director of British Antarctic Survey, said: 'The long-term research investigations carried out at Halley since the 1950s have led to deeper understanding of our world.
'In half a century, society has been alerted to our changing climate, about the possibility that melting ice in the Polar Regions will increase sea-level rise, and that human activity can have an impact on the natural environment.
'The Polar Regions are the Earth's early warning system and it is here that the first signs of global change are observed.
'This is the first summer field season for Halley and already our scientists there are working with colleagues from the USA, including NASA, on studies that will gain new knowledge about how our world works.'
David Willetts, UK Minister for universities and science, said: 'This new state-of-the-art research facility demonstrates the UK's ambition to remain at the forefront of scientific endeavour.
'The new Halley Research Station is a triumph of British design, innovation and engineering.
The UK's world-class polar science community now has a unique, cutting edge suite of laboratories on the ice.
The legacy of Captain Scott, together with our strong track record of scientific discovery in Antarctica, is set to continue in this excellent new facility.'
This map shows the location of the Halley VI research station
Halley, named for astronomer Edmond Halley, has served as a scientific research site for more than 50 years.
The British Antarctic Survey said the region has served as 'an important natural laboratory' for studies of the Earth's magnetic field, its near-space atmosphere, and climate change.
It was data from Halley that led to the survey's 1985 discovery of the hole in the ozone layer.
Cosy: A cross-section from an artist's impression shows how the living and working quarters will be arranged in the modules
Forward-looking: Artist's impression of one of the modules - but scientists might not use the balcony as even in the summer the temperature is below freezing
Research results: The hole in the ozone layer was identified thanks to data from the previous Halley research station in the Antarctic
Are they by any chance related? The AT-AT Walker from Star Wars bears a striking resemblace to the new Antarctic research station