Wednesday, December 14, 2005
INTO THE WILD / STREAKER WATCH
PM: South Pole Amundsen-Scott Research Station
The Coolest Building On Earth
Deep in the heart of Antarctica, rugged workers endure frigid temperatures and exhausting altitude to construct a new research station. The finished product will support some of the most vital science of our time.
The incredibly remote location and extreme conditions make building Amundsen-Scott the closest earthbound job to constructing the International Space Station. Supplies are carried 9000 miles by ship from California to New Zealand to McMurdo--the main U.S. station on the Ross Sea coast. They are then flown 850 miles to the South Pole in a ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules aircraft.
There's even a sauna, to perpetuate a hallowed South Pole tradition--the 300 Club. Members wait until the temperature drops below minus 100 F, steam themselves in a 200 F sauna and streak naked (except for boots) out of the station and around the Pole marker.