Video: The Bottom of the World

November 3rd, 2009 by Smithsonian Journeys

For many of us, Antarctica is pinnacle of world travel. We hope we’ll get to Antarctica one day, and we hope that it will look as it has for centuries. As we all try to be more aware of living a more environmentally-friendly life focused on saving the Arctic region, it’s easy to forget the continent way down south at the bottom of the world.

But imagine actually living there. For the scientists at the McMurdo Station, Antarctica is their backyard. Established in 1956, it began as an outpost of only a few buildings but has now grown to a large research facility. The Crary Laboratory supports biological, earth science, atmospheric sciences, and a new aquarium, all under one roof. The facility was named for the geophysicist and geologist Albert P. Crary (1911-1987), the first person to set foot on both the North and South Poles.

McMurdo Station is now the largest community in Antarctica with 1200 residents in the summer and 200 in the winter. This video shows both the day to day life and stunning beauty of living on the loneliest continent. For them, this is business as usual. You can read more about our National Zoo’s expedition to Antarctica here, where you can learn about the research team and what their home base is like from those who know it best.

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