Me, at the Ceremonial South Pole at Amundsen-Scott Pole Station, surrounded by the flags of the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty at an altitude of 9300 feet. Because the earth’s rotation causes the atmosphere to thin out at the poles, the air pressure is more like 11,000 feet.

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The flags of the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty, at the Ceremonial South Pole, as seen from the “hospital” inside the Amundsen-Scott Pole Station. We were told this was the best view – the only benefit of being sick.

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he Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, the US scientific research station, is the southernmost habitation on Earth at 9301 feet above sea level. Its adjustable elevation prevents it from being buried, but it’s location on a moving glacier means it’s being carried toward the poles. 150 people are there in the summer, but less than 40 remain in the winter.

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Former NASA astronaut and Commander of the Space Station, Terry Virts, who was traveling with my small group, was a big hit with folks working inside the Amundsen-Scott Pole Station.

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Since the Amundsen–Scott Station is located at the South Pole, it is at the only place on the land surface of the Earth where the Sun is continuously up for six months and then continuously down for six months, meaning each year, the station experiences one extremely long “day” and one extremely long “night.”

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The fully hydroponic greenhouse (since importing soil is forbidden by the Antarctic Treaty) inside Amundsen-Scott Station is the only source of fresh vegetables for residents during the long winter. It’s not large, but it’s pretty amazing considering they are in the middle of the coldest and driest desert on the planet.

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Planetary perspective. When you are at the bottom of the world, why wouldn’t you view the South Pole as being at the top? Inside the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station’s quiet/reading room.

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The Geographic South Pole (9301 feet) is a fixed location in the southern hemisphere at the Earth’s axis of rotation, latitude 90°S (longitude N/A). At the designated marker — a simple rod with brass head – you are at lowest point on earth, with no more East, South or West – only North, and you can walk around the world by circling it.

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Taking a selfie at the Ceremonial South Pole, a metal sphere on a red and white pole, partially surrounded by the flags of the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty, which sits at 9301 feet above sea level, about 300 meters from the actual Geographic South Pole.

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A view of Queen Maud Land from the window of our converted DC-3 Basler, en route back from the South Pole

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The pilot of our converted DC-3 Basler kindly gave us a very close up view of Ulvetanna Peak, or “The Wolf’s Tooth” (2930m/9,616ft), which is part of the Fenriskjeften Range in Queen Maud Land, and is widely considered the most technically demanding climb in Antarctica.

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