Contractor Life: Contractors in Antarctica prepare for the Winter (March – September)

Post Date: March 20, 2015 | Category: Contractor Life


Because it lies in the southern hemisphere, seasons in Antarctica are the opposite of seasons in the north. Summer runs from October to February and winter covers the remainder of the year. The last plane left Antarctica around Febuary 15, 2015. For about the next six months  a staff of cooks, facilities workers, and a handful of scientists ( SEARCH JOBS IN ANTARCTICA ) — will see only darkness beyond the station's windows. At the South Pole, the sun sets in March and doesn't rise again until austral summer returns, in September.


Humans first set foot at the South Pole 100 years ago, and the gleaming research station that now stands there is named in honor of the first two people to make it to the desolate spot.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reached the pole on Dec. 14, 1911. A month later, on Jan. 17, 1912, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott arrived, only to find he'd lost out to Amundsen. Scott and his men, ill-prepared for the advancing Antarctic winter, perished on their return trek.

A century later, science in Antarctica is going strong, and the researchers who spend winters at the South Pole are investigating some epic, existential questions.

The high elevation and clear Antarctic air allow telescopes to peer back at the light that remains from the young universe, and an underground experiment at the pole captures neutrinos — ghostly particles that bombard the Earth yet rarely interact with anything they meet — which may help answer why we live in a universe dominated by matter.


1454 people have wintered over at the South Pole between 1957 and 2015. Since some of these folks wintered more than once, there actually have been a total of 1780 winterover positions. In 2015 we have 45 NPX winterovers, 8 women and 37 men--a slight increase from the last two years when there were 41 w/o folks. The largest crowd of women was in 2005 when there were 24, and 86 people in all, the largest winter crew ever (which included me). In the old days, the first three years with women (1979-81) there was only one of them on station.


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