Documenting Life & Science in the Isolated Antarctic Outpost Scott Base

Antarctica is a continent that is entirely focused on science. Every single Antarctic resident is either engaged in pivotal scientific projects to learn more about the planet, or supporting this research. Between the extremes of the harsh continent itself and the focused dedication of the communities around the work, life on an Antarctic base is like a fully operational extraterrestrial facility – a space station on ice.

Testing sea ice thickness, by Amanda ChristophersFrom contemplating how to drill through the 1,000-foot-thick Ross Ice Shelf, or how to serve hot meals to a cold crew, or gearing up and guiding teams to brave the elements on the ice–each person on base works to make this place habitable and keep the science running.

National Geographic, the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI), and Antarctica New Zealand announced today an unprecedented, cross-platform partnership to document the determined men and women working on the frontiers of science at New Zealand’s Scott Base, Antarctica.

The exciting new partnership will allow our cameras to accompany the research expeditions and document life in this isolated outpost like never before. Viewers will have the chance to step inside the remote world that most will never go, and witness the incredible feats that take place on a daily basis on the least explored continent in the world.

150505 National Geographic- NZARI partnership signing by Jeanine Begg“It will help us launch challenging new research expeditions deep into the interior of Antarctica to investigate how vulnerable Antarctica and its ice sheets and ice shelves are, as the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere warm. At the same time, we hope to learn how the changing ice cover and temperatures will impact the fragile and iconic life of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean,” says Professor Gary Wilson, Director of NZARI.

The coverage will include inside access to those on the ground who keep this isolated world running: the helicopter pilots and crew who work in numbing temperatures to fly teams across giant glaciers, ice shelves, and wildlife colonies, and the base team that monitors storms and white-outs. We will be right alongside scientists researching charismatic megafauna – the great predators of the Southern Ocean. Our camera teams will also be riding shotgun with the brave men and women who clear the roads (after building them) to transport scientists, and then build camps for their three-week fieldwork out in the elements. These are the real heroes that make science possible.