Daily life at the South Pole

The World
Descamps is a Belgian astrophysicist working at the U.S. National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott research station at the South Pole. She is one of 49 workers spending the winter there, and she's the guest in our latest Science Forum discussion. The sun set over the South Pole just a few days ago and the last plane has left for the season, so Descamps and her colleagues are preparing to spend the next six months in darkness on a desolate continent. Today, scientists like Descamps can spend the entire winter in Antarctica without worrying about the extreme temperatures. Things were very different a century ago when Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team made the first successful trek to the South Pole, arriving on December 14, 1911. A month later, a team led by British explorer Robert Scott also reached the pole, only to perish on their way home. Although his expedition ended in tragedy, Scott is considered a hero by many who work in Antarctica today. Listen to our story about Scott's legacy by reporter Eric Niller here. See this slide show of pictures taken at the South Pole by Freija Descamps. So what is life at the South Pole like for researchers today? And how do you remain sane in such a frigid and desolate place? Ask Descamps. She's answering your questions all the way from the South Pole. Descamps can only participate in the discussion at certain times of the day when the satellite is up, so please understand if her responses are delayed.